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Press Release | Dec. 11, 2023

MEDIA ADVISORY: Coast Guard rescue swimmer to receive Distinguished Flying Cross Award

WHO: Rear Adm. Andrew Sugimoto, Eleventh District Commander; U.S. Coast Guard Capt. Scott Powers, Sector Humboldt Bay Commanding Officer.

WHAT: Aviation Survival Technician Second Class Spencer T. Manson will receive the Distinguished Flying Cross Award for his heroic efforts during a rescue operation on June 19, 2021, which occurred 70 miles offshore from the California–Oregon border, resulting in all six persons lives aboard a disabled 79-foot schooner being saved. The prestigious Distinguished Flying Cross Award is the highest honor that can be achieved in aviation and is awarded to any Navy, Marine Corps, or Coast Guard personnel who distinguish themselves for heroism or outstanding achievement while participating in aerial flight.

WHEN: Tuesday, Dec. 12, 2023 at 10:30 a.m.

WHERE: U.S. Coast Guard Sector Humboldt Bay, 1001 Lycoming Ave, McKinleyville, CA 95519

Editor's Note: Media interested in attending should arrive no later than 10 a.m. and bring a government-issued photo ID, press credentials, proof of vehicle registration and insurance. Media will be escorted to the event location following a security screening. RSVP to LTJG Katherine McDonnell at (406) 949-1014.


MCKINLEYVILLE, Calif. —Coast Guard crews from McKinleyville and North Bend, Oregon, rescued six people from their 79-foot sailboat June 19, 2021, approximately 80 miles west of Crescent City.

Coast Guard Sector Humboldt Bay watchstanders received a VHF distress call at 3:45 p.m. from the crew of the sailboat Barlovento reporting the boat was disabled, taking on water and had a person aboard with a head and arm injury in approximately 60 mile-per-hour winds and 20-foot seas.

Watchstanders directed the launch of a Coast Guard Air Station Sacramento C-27J Spartan fixed-wing crew to provide air support and a Coast Guard Sector Humboldt Bay MH-65 Dolphin helicopter crew.

The Dolphin crew arrived on scene and hoisted the injured person from the Barlovento and transported the person to local emergency medical services personnel at Coast Guard Sector Humboldt Bay.

With the Barlovento expected to lose power, Sector Humboldt Bay watchstanders requested additional air support from a Coast Guard Air Station North Bend MH-65 Dolphin helicopter crew.

The Sector Humboldt Bay Dolphin crew returned to the scene and hoisted three people from the Barlovento and the Air Station North Bend Dolphin crew arrived on scene and hoisted the remaining two people.

All survivors were transported to Sector Humboldt Bay.

“This case was a great example of a successful, multi-unit effort and highlights the importance of standardized procedures,” said Lt. Ryan O’Neill, a Dolphin aircraft commander at Sector Humboldt Bay. “The careful coordination between the two helicopters with support from the C-27 allowed us to save all six sailors.”

Sector Humboldt Bay watchstanders issued a broadcast to mariners regarding the abandoned Barolvento and requested that mariners transit the area with caution.