Charles W. Sexton

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Machinery Technician First Class Charles W. Sexton, USCG, was awarded a posthumous award of the Coast Guard Medal for "extraordinary heroism."

Coast Guard Medal citation[edit]

His award citation stated:

"Petty Officer SEXTON is cited for extraordinary heroism on 11 January 1991 while serving as emergency medical technician aboard Coast Guard Motor Lifeboat CG-44381. The boat crew was responding to a distress call from F/V SEA KING, a 75-foot stern trawler with four persons on board, which was taking on water and in danger of sinking, four nautical miles northwest of the Columbia River Bar, with her decks awash and after compartment and engine room steadily filling up with water. From the relative safety the motor lifeboat, Petty Officer SEXTON unselfishly volunteered to go aboard the foundering fishing vessel to treat the injuries of a SEA KING crew member who had fallen to the deck boat during a failed helicopter hoist. He skillfully diagnosed the victim’s injuries, informed the flight surgeon of the extent of the injuries and provided first aid treatment. Once the victim was stabilized, Petty Officer SEXTON turned his attention to assisting with the dewatering of the vessel. The SEA KING required several dewatering pumps to remove the initial quantity of sea water from the engine room. Then, hourly dewatering of the vessel was necessary to maintain proper trim aboard the vessel. After more than 6 hours of this exhausting routine, with the worst of the treacherous bar crossing behind them, the SEA KING suddenly, without warning, rolled over, throwing victims into the churning seas and trapping Petty Officer SEXTON in the enclosed pilot house. He went down with vessel, sacrificing his life while attempting to save the lives of the SEA KING’s crew members. Petty Officer SEXTON demonstrated remarkable initiative, exceptional fortitude, and daring in spite of imminent danger in this rescue. His courage and devotion to duty are most heartily commended and are in keeping with the highest traditions of the United States Coast Guard."

Upon arriving to recruit basic training in Cape May, New Jersey, recruits spend their first three nights in Sexton Hall for forming, and before being put into a company. Named after Charles W. Sexton, there are tributes to him within the barracks. Sexton Hall is also the residence of recruits discharged before completion of recruit training awaiting orders home (whether for medical or disciplinary reasons).

The maintenance building for the National Motor Lifeboat School at Cape Disappointment, Washington, is also dedicated in his name. A bronze relief plaque is displayed at the building entrance to remind staff and students of his ultimate sacrifice.

A 154' USCG Sentinel-Class Fast Response Cutter that bears his name was commissioned in Key West, FL on March 8th, 2014.