Coast Guard to present public service award to Sitka Mountain Rescue

KODIAK, Alaska – Rear Adm. Christopher Colvin, commander District 17, is scheduled to present a Meritorious Public Service Award to Sitka Mountain Rescue at Air Station Sitka Wednesday at 3 p.m. for saving the life of an injured hunter Oct. 15, 2009.

Following a night journey over sea and land three members of Sitka Mountain Rescue located the injured hunter on a cliff face at an elevation of 2,800 feet. SMR members were then hoisted 50-yards down to a steep and unstable mountainside by an MH-60 Jayhawk helicopter from Coast Guard Air Station Sitka.

Upon reaching the victim, one of the rescue members and the hunter slid down the unstable face of the cliff stopping just short of an 800-foot drop-off. Four additional SMR members were brought to the scene by the Jayhawk helicopter to assist in the 8-hour trek over rough terrain to the valley floor where they were evacuated by the Jayhawk helicopter crew at first light.

The Coast Guard maintains several Public Service Awards to recognize private citizens, groups, or organizations for helping the Coast Guard carry out its missions. The Coast Guard Meritorious Public Service Award is the second-highest Public Service Award and is given to recognize:

  • Unusual courage in advancing a Coast Guard mission
  • Substantial contribution to the Coast Guard that produced tangible results
  • Specific individual accomplishments that provide unique benefits to the public

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