Coast Guard Hero Passes

Discussion in 'Academy/Military News' started by Capt MJ, Mar 31, 2010.

  1. Capt MJ

    Capt MJ Member

    Sep 27, 2008
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    I'm honored by the professional friendship of a former MCPOCG, Master Chief Petty Officer of the Coast Guard, the senior enlisted leader of the force. He likes to keep his Navy friends up to date on good CG stories, and this is a good one, passed on by the current MCPOCG.

    Much as Navy people like to kid their coastal brethren, they engage in some of the most skilled seamanship and going in harm's way that you will see.

    Those of you going to USCGA will have the honor and pleasure of serving alongside and leading some of the finest enlisted men and women anywhere.

    Passing of Coast Guard Hero---BMCS Richard D. Dixon

    Posted by Skip Bowen

    Last month I was made aware that Senior Chief Richard Dixon had passed away. Like many retired Coast Guardsmen the Senior Chief did not trumpet the accomplishments of his long and exemplary career. But unknown to most, BMCS Richard Dixon had accomplished something that very few, if any other person in the history of the Coast Guard has accomplished. BMCS Richard Dixon was the recipient of not one, but two Coast Guard Medals. The Coast Guard Medal is the equivalent of the Gold Lifesaving Medal, a medal which has often had to be bestowed posthumously. The Coast Guard Medals and Awards manual states that only those who "performed a rescue or attempted rescue at the risk of his or her own life, and demonstrates extreme and heroic daring" should receive the honor.

    During a few tumultuous weather days in July 1980, then BM1 Dixon and his boat crew were put to the ultimate test. The first case occurred on the 3rd of July. Seas were breaking across the Tillamook Bay entrance Bar to a height of 30 feet. The crew of the Yacht Fantasy Isle with 5 persons on board was in such dire straits offshore that they felt that they had to attempt to cross the Bar or perish. BM1 Dixon placed his 44 foot motor lifeboat behind the yacht as it headed in. To protect the Fantasy Isle he placed the MLB broadside to tremendous seas taking the full force of massive breakers as the yacht moved across the Bar. He repeated this highly dangerous evolution, taking breaker after breaker many times over the next 40 minutes until the yacht was safely in the bay. His daring action most likely saved the lives of all aboard the Fantasy Isle. For this action he was awarded his first Coast Guard Medal.

    The second case occurred on the 4th of July. While most Americans were enjoying picnics and time with family BM1 Dixon was on duty. On the same Motor Lifeboat he was again escorting a vessel over the Tillamook Bar, when a small pleasure craft dashed around the tip of the North Jetty directly into the path of 15-18 foot breaking seas. Two of the four occupants were hurled through the boats windshield as the vessel capsized. BM1 Dixon was directed to attempt a pickup. He had to place the MLB within 50 feet of the jetty rocks in order to pull the persons in the water aboard. Huge breaking seas threatened to pick up the 44 and throw it onto the rocks.
    BM1 Dixon and the crew of the MLB persevered and rescued all 4 persons from certain death. For this action he received a second Coast Guard Medal.

    I was saddened to hear that BMCS Dixon had passed away with only an obituary in the newspaper to mark his passing. As a Service we should be doing more to maintain contact with and honor those who are such an important part of the Coast Guard's legacy. As a former Boatswain's Mate I can attest to the extreme nature of actions that could result in not just one, but two Coast Guard medals. I recently proposed that the new Coast Guard Fast Response Cutters names be changed from already approved superlatives (SENTINEL, GUARDIAN, etc) to actual names of Coast Guard Heroes who started out in the enlisted ranks. This would focus the honor on less recognized heroes whose deeds often go unsung and insufficiently recognized when they die.

    MCPOCG Bowen

  2. Chockstock

    Chockstock "Forever One Team"

    Feb 1, 2009
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