Coast Guard presents Purple Heart to World War I sailors

U.S. Marine Corps Cpl. Casey Roberds, plays taps during a Purple Heart presentation ceremony on Coast Guard Base Los Angeles-Long Beach, November 15, 2019. The Coast Guard posthumously awarded Seaman Jospeh Lieb and Acting Water Tender Benjamin Nelson for their service aboard the Coast Guard Cutter Tampa during World War I. (U.S. Coast Guard photo by Petty Officer 3rd Class Aidan Cooney)

U.S. Marine Corps Cpl. Casey Roberds, plays taps during a Purple Heart presentation ceremony on Coast Guard Base Los Angeles-Long Beach, November 15, 2019.  (U.S. Coast Guard photo by Petty Officer 3rd Class Aidan Cooney)

SAN PEDRO, Calif. – Coast Guard Sector Los Angeles-Long Beach personnel posthumously presented a Purple Heart to the families of Joseph Lieb and Benjamin Nelson in San Pedro, Friday.

 

The families received the awards in recognition of Lieb and Nelson who received fatal wounds as a consequence of the sinking of the Coast Guard Cutter Tampa Sept. 26, 1918.


“While the Coast Guard and our missions have evolved over the past century, we remain inspired by the heroes who came before us like Seaman Lieb and Acting Water Tender Nelson,” said Capt. Monica Rochester, the Sector Los Angeles-Long Beach commander. “The Cutter Tampa and her crew holds a special place in the Coast Guard’s heritage.”

On Sept. 26, 1918, the Tampa was escorting a convoy to Wales via the Bristol Channel. During the escort, Tampa’s crew became aware of a potential enemy submarine. The cutter was positioned in front of the convoy, where at approximately 8:45 p.m., it was struck by an enemy torpedo. Lieb and Nelson, along with all 130 people aboard, lost their lives.


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