Coast Guardsmen honored at Station Tillamook Bay, Oregon

ASTORIA, Ore. — Coast Guard Medal recipients from the Pacific Northwest were honored during a memorial ceremony at Station Tillamook Bay, Ore., in Garibaldi, Ore., Wednesday, Nov. 11, 2009.

Ron Valiquette, of Anacortes, Wash., donated a stone obelick displaying the names of Coast Guard Medal recipients from the Pacific Northwest which included the names of the 11 Coast Guard members from Station Tillamook Bay who saved the lives of him and the four crewmembers aboard his boat during Hurricane Celia in 1980.

Machinery Technician Third Class Ken Foshaug, Ret., Reserve Seaman Richard Koplan, Ret., Master Chief Bill Michael, Ret., and Master Chief Richard Harshfield, Ret., four of the men named on the obelisk, were present for the ceremony. Michael and Harshfield were two of the men who took part in Valiquette’s rescue, and Valiquette as he spoke of their efforts that night.

“If it weren’t for what these men did, my head would be under one of these,” said Villaquette as he gestured at the stone obelisk. “The members of the United States Coast Guard are true heroes.”

The Coast Guard Medal is one of the highest awards given by the Coast Guard and is reserved for Coast Guard members who perform exemplary service in the act of saving lives at great personal risk.

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