Stonington, CT - The Coast Guard Foundation, a non-profit organization committed to the education and welfare of Coast Guard members and their families, announced today that at its 2013 Salute to the U.S. Coast Guard it will award Petty Officer 2nd Class Abram A. Heller, a rescue swimmer, for an individual heroic action, and the crew of the cutter MOHAWK for unit excellence. Scheduled for Thursday, October 10, 2013 in New York City, the event honors the bravery and heroism of U.S. Coast Guard members across the country. The Coast Guard Foundation will also pay tribute to Joseph Pyne of Kirby Corporation for his strong support of the Foundation, and its programs and projects that benefit the Coast Guard and its service members. Al Roker will serve as the evening’s master of ceremonies.
Petty Officer Abram A. Heller
In the early morning hours of August 13, 2012, Air Station Barbers Point, Hawaii dispatched the CG-657 helicopter crew to rescue sailors who abandoned ship and were in the water without a life raft between the islands of Oahu and Kauai. Arriving at the scene. Heller located all seven survivors and helped deliver a rescue life raft to them. The raft malfunctioned and Heller was lowered into the water to perform triage on the exhausted sailors. Heller determined which of the sailors needed immediate help, and calmly and professionally got four of the survivors from the pitch-black ocean into the helicopter. The aircraft, running low on fuel and cabin space, was forced to leave the scene of the rescue.
Heller volunteered to stay with the remaining survivors while they waited for additional Coast Guard support to arrive. Prior to leaving the scene, the helicopter crew deployed its own survival raft; Heller loaded the three remaining sailors into the raft and helped the sailors remain calm as he continually worked with a Coast Guard C-130 aircraft to guide a 47-foot boat from Coast Guard Station Kauai to their location.
Heller's selflessness, technical expertise and physical strength were critical in the success of this rescue case. His instinctive, disciplined actions and decisive leadership on scene saved seven lives. Petty Officer Heller’s hometown is Worland, Wyoming. He is currently stationed at Air Station/Sector Field Office Port Angeles, Washington.
USCG Cutter MOHAWK
The crew of the Key West-based cutter MOHAWK will be recognized for unit excellence for their performance of duties during the period of May 1, 2012 through April 20, 2013. Over that period of time, the MOHAWK crew excelled in a number of vital law enforcement operations. Highlights include:
On November 2012, the MOHAWK acted in a migrant repatriation of more than 50 Cubans. As a result of Hurricane Sandy, the crew and the migrants were forced to stay out to sea longer than expected. The crew of the MOHAWK exhibited great professionalism in handling the care of the migrants in a difficult situation.
Between January and March of 2013, the crew intercepted six boats carrying a total of 1,032 kilograms of cocaine and 600 pounds of marijuana with an estimated $35 million street value.
August of 2012, the MOHAWK successfully led 12 cutters on a surface action group storm evasion from Hurricane Isaac. MOHAWK kept daily accountability of each cutter and refueled several while underway for the four-day voyage.
“We are honored to recognize the bravery that Petty Officer Heller and the crew of the Cutter MOHAWK exhibited in the line of duty,” said Anne Brengle, president, Coast Guard Foundation. “These individuals’ selflessness, courage, judgment and devotion to duty are shining examples of the highest traditions of the United States Coast Guard.”
Since 1969 the Coast Guard Foundation has been committed to inspiring leadership, learning and a proud legacy of service to our nation by supporting the men of women of the United States Coast Guard. The Foundation provides higher education grants to enlisted members, reservists and their children; college scholarships for families of Coast Guard members lost in the line of duty; and support for morale programs, including funding recreation, exercise and family-oriented facilities all around the country.
For more information on the Coast Guard Foundation, please visit the Coast Guard Foundation website at www.coastguardfoundation.org