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Harry Elis Obedin

Harry Obedin graduated from the U.S. Coast Guard Academy, New London, Connecticut, Class of 1960.


Coast Guard Medal

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Awarded for actions during the Vietnam War

The President of the United States of America takes pleasure in presenting the Coast Guard Medal to Lieutenant Harry Elis Obedin, United States Coast Guard, for heroic conduct on April 16-17, 1962, while serving as Executive Officer of the U.S.C.G.C. TRAVIS (WSC-153), engaged in fighting a fire on board the Italian Motor Vessel ANDREA GRITTI, at Port Everglades, Florida. The TRAVIS, which was moored in Port Everglades at the time, was called upon to render assistance to the Captain of the Port, Miami, and to the local civilian fire-fighting organizations when the ANDREA GRITTI entered the port with a cotton and resin fire smoldering in No. 3 Hold. Shortly after his arrival at the scene, Lieutenant Obedin, then a Lieutenant (junior grade), found the fire had penetrated to the engine room. Further, the large quantities of water used in fighting the fire were causing the ship to take a heavy list to starboard, throwing the crew members into a state of panic and greatly hampering fire fighting and salvage operations. He organized and directed crew members of the TRAVIS in containing and combating the engine room fires by use of foam, and his personnel succeeded in extinguishing the fire and keeping re-flashes under control for approximately 14 hours. Lieutenant Obedin also supervised cutting a hole in the side of the ship to assist in dewatering the holds, and he led a team of men in removing a manhole on a fuel settling tank in which the fuel was boiling. He then used portable CO2 extinguisher to cool the boiling fuel. Lieutenant Obedin demonstrated initiative and fortitude in spite of ever-present personal danger during the entire operation. His unselfish actions and unwavering devotion to duty reflect the highest credit upon himself and the United States Coast Guard.

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

Action Date: April 16 - 17, 1962

Service: Coast Guard

Rank: Lieutenant