Charles W. Sexton

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Charles Sexton
Petty Officer Charles Sexton lost his life helping to save fishermen off the Oregon coast.jpg
Petty Officer Charles Sexton lost his life helping to save fishermen off the Oregon coast.
Service/branch United States Coast Guard

Machinery Technician First Class Charles W. Sexton], USCG,[1] was awarded a posthumous award of the Coast Guard Medal for "extraordinary heroism."

Action cited[edit]

Charles Sexton, a United States Coast Guard machinery technician, died during the rescue of fishermen stranded off the treacherous Columbia River bar.[2][3][4]

A Coast Guard Motor Lifeboat Crew had proceeded to the fishing trawler Sea King in motor lifeboat 44381, because the trawler had lost power off the Columbia bar, and was taking on water. Sexton had helped treat a wounded fisherman, had helped bring over portable pumps to pump out the trawler, when the trawler unexpectedly turned over. Two of the trawler's crew, and the Coast Guardsmen, were thrown into the Ocean, and were eventually rescued, but Sexton and two other Coast Guardsmen were trapped in the vessel's pilot house, and drowned.

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."

Sexton Hall[edit]

The first barracks new Coast Guard recruits stay at, upon their arrival at the Coast Guard training depot in Cape May, New Jersey, is named "Sexton Hall", in his honor. [5]

Recruits stay there during their orientation, prior to their assignment to a training unit.[6]

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).

Cape Disappointment[edit]

Coast Guard Station Cape Disappointment, where Sexton was stationed at the time of his death, is the home of the Coast Guard's National Motor Lifeboat School, and its maintenance building is named in honor of Sexton.[5][7] A bronze relief plaque is displayed at the building entrance to remind staff and students of his ultimate sacrifice.

USCGC Charles Sexton[edit]

USCGC Charles Sexton

In 2010 when the Coast Guard decided that all the new Sentinel class cutters would be named after Coast Guard personnel who had been recognized for their heroism Sexton was one of those to be honored.[3][8] The 8th cutter in the class will be named the USCGC Charles Sexton. She will be homeported in Key West, Florida.[9]

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

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ "Machinery Technician First Class Charles W. Sexton", USCG"
  2. ^ Connie Braesch (2010-11-04). "Coast Guard Heroes: Charles Walter David Jr.". United States Coast Guard. Archived from the original on 2013-01-04. Many of the Coast Guard’s heroes fought in wars abroad or found themselves under enemy fire in foreign countries. But, Charles W. Sexton found himself faced with danger in the course of his everyday duties at Coast Guard Station Cape Disappointment. Sexton, a machinery technician, was rescuing four fishermen in peril when the seas tragically took him. 
  3. ^ a b Stephanie Young (2010-10-27). "Coast Guard Heroes". United States Coast Guard. Archived from the original on 2013-01-03. Retrieved 2012-04-20. 
  4. ^ "Who are some of the heroes of the Coast Guard?". USCG. 2012-12-03. Retrieved 2013-01-10. 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. 
  5. ^ a b Kevin Heimberger (2012-04-10). "New USCG cutter to be named after Sexton". Chinook Observer. Archived from the original on 2014-03-15. Retrieved 2014-03-15. Upon arriving to basic training in Cape May, N.J., all USCG recruits spend their first three nights in Sexton Hall for forming, and before being put into a company. Sexton Hall is also the residence of Coast Guardsmen awaiting orders to go home. 
  6. ^ David Helvarg (2009). Rescue Warriors: The U.S. Coast Guard, America's Forgotten Heroes. Macmillan Books. p. 33. ISBN 9781429989534. Retrieved 2014-03-15. The morning after their arrival, the fifty-six new recruits are marched onto the second floor of Sexton Hall, named for Charles Sexton, a Coastie medic who died after trying to administer first aid aboard the fishing vessel Sea King when it capsized and sank new the mouth of the Columbia River in 1991. 
  7. ^ James B. Taylor (2012-11-20). "Letter: Will always honor Sexton". Chinook Observer. Archived from the original on 2014-03-15. Retrieved 2014-03-15. I was stationed with Petty Officer Sexton at the National Motor Lifeboat School in Ilwaco. He was my supervisor. I was a fireman apprentice at the time and I was there the evening he passed away. He allowed us to call him Rudy, and he was a great guy. As my career continued after his passing, and when the seas seemed too rough to handle, I would try and think how he would have handled the situation. 
  8. ^ "FRC Plan B: The Sentinel Class". Defense Industry Daily. 2014-05-02. Archived from the original on 2014-07-07. Retrieved 2014-04-03. All of these boats will be named after enlisted Coast Guard heroes, who distinguished themselves in USCG or military service. The first 25 have been named, but only 8 have been commissioned... 
  9. ^ Rhonda Carpenter (2012-11-05). "Coast Guard Commissions Third Fast Response Cutter, William Flores". Defense Media Network. Archived from the original on 2013-01-04. The first six FRCs for District 7 will be homeported in Miami; the next six in Key West; and the remaining six in Puerto Rico. 

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