Civilian Mariner to be Awarded Coast Guard Gold Life Saving Medal

NEW ORLEANS – The Coast Guard is scheduled to present a Gold Life Saving medal to a civilian mariner Saturday at noon at the Marriot River Walk in San Antonio.

Ryan Newhall will receive the award for his heroic actions on Oct. 20, 2002, while serving as the deck boss and fire crewmember aboard the Galaxy, a 180-foot fish processing vessel.

Newhall and other crewmembers fought a fire before a violent explosion ejected Newhall and two crewmembers into the Bering Sea.

Newhall suffered a head injury while being brought back aboard the Galaxy and ran through multiple decks of the burning superstructure to find safety on the top deck.

Still impaired by smoke inhalation, cold-water immersion and other injuries, Newhall agreed to accompany a fellow crewmember into the water when the crewmember decided it was necessary to abandon ship. Newhall, who was wearing a survival suit, had the presence of mind to grab a nearby life ring before he jumped into the water after the crewmember. Newhall helped his shipmate by placing the life ring around her for support.

Newhall stayed with her, kept her awake, provided encouragement and kept her afloat for two hours until they were rescued by the crew of the fishing vessel Clipper Express.

Newhall’s actions were directly responsible for saving his crewmates life.

Source: USCG D8 Public Affairs

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