Coast Guard to Honor Heroes of Elizabeth M. Tragedy

PITTSBURGH – Coast Guard Marine Safety Unit Pittsburgh is scheduled to host an awards ceremony Wednesday, during the monthly Waterways Association of Pittsburgh luncheon at the Chartiers Country Club beginning at 11:15 a.m. to officially recognize five courageous crewmembers of the Motor Vessels Elizabeth M. and Rocket for their heroic actions the night of Jan. 9, 2005.

John A. Thomas will be awarded the Silver Lifesaving Medal for his heroic actions, when the Elizabeth M. was involved in a tragic accident, costing four crewmembers of the Elizabeth M. their lives.

Thomas, a crewman on the Elizabeth M., held on to his captain for more than an hour in freezing water that was traveling past them at a rate of 13 mph.

Donald L. Brown, Robert F. Cornman, and Thomas W. Siegler, crewmembers of the Rocket, will be awarded the Certificate of Valor, for their brave and quick response in rescuing two survivors.

Charles L. Montgomery, the captain of the Rocket, will be awarded the Certificate of Valor for maneuvering and keeping his vessel in position to complete the rescues.

Coast Guard Public Service Awards, such as the Silver Lifesaving Award and the Certificate of Valor, are awarded by the commandant of the Coast Guard to those who rescue, or endeavor to rescue another person from the perils of the water. The rescue is made at the risk of one’s own life, with extreme and heroic daring.

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