Coast Guard rescue swimmer to receive Coast Guard Medal for Cape Kiwanda rescue

d13WARRENTON, Ore. — The Coast Guard is scheduled to present the Coast Guard Medal to a rescue swimmer stationed at Coast Guard Sector Columbia River during a ceremony held in the sector’s helicopter hangar, Monday.

Chief Petty Officer Michael Spencer, an aviation survival technician, will be honored in recognition for his rescue efforts of two fellow first responders during search and rescue operations in the punch bowl at Cape Kiwanda, Feb. 1, 2016.

The Coast Guard Medal is awarded to any member of the Armed Forces who, while serving in any capacity with the Coast Guard, distinguishes himself or herself by heroism not involving actual conflict with an enemy. This will be the first awarding of the medal since December 2012.

The act in which Spencer is being recognized for happened when his helicopter crew responded to the report of a teenage girl falling off a cliff into the ocean. Shortly after arriving on scene the aircrew witnessed first responders from North Lincoln County get tossed off a personal watercraft and sled by a series of large waves. Spencer descended 80 feet from the hovering helicopter into violent surf to rescue the two men in the water. After the rescues of the first responders the aircrew continued with the search efforts for the teenage girl. Unfortunately the girl was not located and the search was called off the next day.

“It is an honor to be able to present this prestigious award to a quality and heroic Coast Guardsman who would be the first to say it was a team effort and would give first recognition to the pilots and the flight mechanic aboard that helicopter,” said Capt. William Timmons, commander, Sector Columbia River. “Chief Spencer does not do this job for fame and recognition, but because he loves the job, the people he serves with and what the service stands for.”

Read the story of the rescue here.

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