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Steven M. Ruh


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 Steven M. Ruh, United States Coast Guard, for heroism on 15 August 2006 as boat crewmember onboard Motor Life Boat 47264 at Coast Guard Station Oswego, New York, while engaged in a perilous rescue of a woman who was being battered at the base of a rocky cliff by large waves during a severe thunderstorm. Once on scene, the boat crew found the woman desperately clinging to a line that had been lowered by a local fire department. After recognizing that she could not be safely pulled up the 30 foot rocky cliff, Petty Officer Ruh volunteered to deploy from the Motor Life Boat as a surface swimmer. Demonstrating superb courage and selflessness, he quickly donned the rescue swimmer gear and, without hesitation or concern for his own safety, entered the turbulent waters. Battling eight to ten foot seas and 30 knot winds as waves continuously crashed over his head, Petty Officer Ruh swam 100 feet to the woman and immediately placed his body as a physical barrier between the woman and the jagged rocks. He quickly determined the woman had to be immediately evacuated if her life was to be saved as she suffered from shock, had a broken leg, was bleeding profusely from several deep lacerations, and was drifting in and out of consciousness. Fighting physical exhaustion, he carefully removed the woman from the fire department's rescue harness and placed her in a personal floatation device. As he and the woman were pulled 100 feet through the treacherous seas back to the Motor Life Boat, he struggled to stay afloat and protected her from the crashing waves with his own body, continuously being pulled under the water causing him to vomit numerous times. As he struggled to keep the victim afloat, he spent over half of the return trip submerged, ingesting an excessive amount of water and coming close to drowning. Demonstrating superlative strength and perseverance, he overcame all odds to save the woman's life. Petty Officer Ruh demonstrated remarkable initiative, exceptional fortitude and daring in spite of imminent personal danger. 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: August 15, 2006

Service: Coast Guard

Rank: Radio Technician First Class