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John E. Duncan


Coast Guard Medal

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The President of the United States of America takes pleasure in presenting the Coast Guard Medal to Boatswain's Mate Third Class John E. Duncan, United States Coast Guard, for extraordinary heroism on the evening of 25 February 2007, while part of a land rescue party from Station Humboldt Bay engaged in the perilous rescue of a man swept off the Humboldt Bay north jetty. Petty Officer Duncan and the other members of the rescue party ran approximately half a mile to the end of the moss-covered, partly awash jetty and discovered the victim slipping from consciousness as he hung upside down twenty feet below the top of the jetty, between several dolosse, unusually-shaped concrete blocks similar to jacks used to protect harbor walls from the force of the sea. Petty Officer Duncan and another member carefully traversed down the twenty feet over the slippery dolosse to reach the victim and discovered he had multiple contusions, abrasions, and a possible leg fracture. Petty Officer Duncan and the other rescuer decided that the only way to get the victim to safety was to free him from the dolosse and physically carry him to the top of the jetty. While attempting to free the victim, multiple waves exceeding twenty feet in height pummeled the party with great force, and the rescuers were nearly swept away several times. After freeing the victim, they carried him between them through breaking waves to the top of the jetty. The rescuers quickly determined the victim needed immediate medical attention and ran through the breaking surf to the end of the jetty where a waiting Coast Guard Aviation Survival Technician began first aid. A helicopter then transferred the victim to the hospital where he eventually made a full recovery. Petty Officer Duncan demonstrated remarkable initiative, exceptional fortitude, and daring in spite of immediate personal danger in this rescue. His courage and devotion to duty are in keeping with the highest traditions of the United States Coast Guard.

General Orders: U.S. Coast Guard Historian's Office

Action Date: 25-Feb-07

Service: Coast Guard

Rank: Radio Technician First Class