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Robert H. Potter

Robert Potter graduated from the U.S. Coast Guard Academy, New London, Connecticut, Class of 1999.


Distinguished Flying Cross

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Awarded for actions during the Global War on Terror

The President of the United States of America takes pleasure in presenting the Distinguished Flying Cross to Lieutenant Robert H. Potter, United States Coast Guard, for extraordinary achievement while participating in aerial flight as the Aircraft Commander of Coast Guard Jayhawk helicopter CG-6022 during the early morning hours of 4 December 2007. Immediately after launching from Air Station Astoria, Oregon, during a winter storm of record ferocity, Lieutenant Potter encountered torrential rain, severe turbulence, poor visibility, gale force wind and darkness. Despite these treacherous conditions, he navigated 90 miles across terrain largely blacked-out by power outages and performed a series of inland rescue missions marked by dangerous terrain, hypothermic victims, and poor communications. Upon arriving over Chehalis, Washington, where hundreds of people were trapped and endangered by cold, rapidly rising floodwater, Lieutenant Potter demonstrated exceptional courage and innovation while rescuing people from dark and inundated homes. With the barest clearance from obstacles, be maneuvered his aircraft among tall trees and live power lines expertly hovering at high altitudes over small targets obscured by darkness and covered by debris. Demonstrating exemplary leadership and superb aeronautical acumen, Lieutenant Potter innovatively approached and completed numerous difficult rescues. He guided his crew through 25 complex hoists and nine perilous deployments of the rescue swimmer while fighting fatigue and overcoming extraordinary environmental hazards. During this six-and-one-half hour mission, Lieutenant Potter's actions, aeronautical skill and heroism were instrumental in the rescue of 21 people. His courage, judgment and devotion to duty In the face of hazardous flying conditions are most heartily commended and are in keeping with the highest traditions of the United States Coast Guard.

Action Date: December 4, 2007

Service: Coast Guard

Rank: Lieutenant