Coast Guardsman awarded Canada’s 2nd highest bravery medal

PORTSMOUTH, Va. – A U.S. Coast Guardsman stationed in Elizabeth City, N.C., was awarded the Star of Courage today at Rideau Hall, the official residence of the Governor General of Canada.

On May 7, 2007, Petty Officer 2nd Class Drew D. Dazzo, a rescue swimmer at Air Station Elizabeth City, was lowered from an MH-60 helicopter into 60-foot seas to rescue three people from a damaged life raft 120 miles from shore in the wake of Subtropical Storm Andrea. One of the men rescued, the captain of the sunken 44-foot sailboat Sean Seamour II, was Rudy Snel, 66, of Ottawa, Canada.

Due to the extreme weather and sea conditions, Dazzo was injured during the first rescue, but continued his efforts until all three men were safely aboard the helicopter. He accompanied the men to the hospital to attend to his own injuries after their arrival at Marine Corps Air Station Cherry Point, N.C.

Her Excellency the Right Honourable Michaëlle Jean, Governor General of Canada, presented one Star of Courage and 46 Medals of Bravery at the ceremony at Rideau Hall.

Petty Officer 1st Class Drew D. Dazzo is only the third United States citizen to receive the Star of Courage.

The Bravery Decorations were created in 1972, to recognize people who risked their lives to try to save or protect the lives of others. The Cross of Valour (C.V.) recognizes acts of the most conspicuous courage in circumstances of extreme peril; the Star of Courage (S.C.) recognizes acts of conspicuous courage in circumstances of great peril; and the Medal of Bravery (M.B.) recognizes acts of bravery in hazardous circumstances.

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