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USCG to Award DFC to Rescue Swimmer

Successful Rescue of Barlovento Saves All Aboard in 2021 Incident

Aviation Survival Technician Second Class Spencer T. Manson will be awarded with the Distinguished Flying Cross Award, recognizing his actions for a rescue action in 2021.

The incident occurred 70 miles offshore from the California–Oregon border, on a sinking 79-foot schooner and its imperiled crew of six. Manson was able to rescue the whole lot of them, netting him the "highest honor that can be achieved in aviation". The Distinguished Flying Cross is awarded to any Navy, Marine Corps, or Coast Guard personnel who elevate themselves in the course of duty, whether through heroism in the moment or outstanding achievement in the sphere of aeronautics.

The incident happened on June 19th, 2021, when Manson's team responded to a distress call at 15:45 local from teh sailboat Barlovento. The ship's crew had been bested by 60 mph winds and 20-foot seas, incurring 2 injured in their efforts. Air support consisted of a C-27J Spartan and MH-65 Dolphin rescue helo, which proved insufficient for a half-dozen passengers. The Sector Humboldt Bay watchstanders, Manson's crew, managed to hoist the first injured and transport them to groundside EMS, but time was short as the Barlovento took on water in the rough seas. The team returned after their first dropoff to rescue 3 pax from the ship, making their pluck before Air Station North Bend's Dolphin arrived to grab the last 2 pax.

“This case was a great example of a successful, multi-unit effort and highlights the importance of standardized procedures,” said Lt. Ryan O’Neill, a Dolphin aircraft commander at Sector Humboldt Bay. “The careful coordination between the two helicopters with support from the C-27 allowed us to save all six sailors.”



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