The Coast Guard awarded the Coast Guard Medal to Petty Officer 1st Class Wallace Qual Friday in Ilwaco, Washington, for his heroic efforts in 2020.
The Coast Guard Medal is awarded to any member of the Armed Forces who, while serving in any capacity with the Coast Guard, distinguishes himself or herself by heroism not involving actual conflict with an enemy.
To justify this decoration, the individual must have performed a voluntary act of heroism in the face of great personal danger of such a magnitude that it stands out distinctly above normal expectations.
On Sept. 8, 2020, a fisherman was forced to abandon ship approximately a quarter-mile from coast, after his vessel began taking on water and breaking apart.
At approximately 1:35 a.m. the mariner entered the water and Petty Officer 1st Class Wallace Qual made a first attempt to swim to his position, swimming from shore through 6-foot breaking surf to rescue the man.
As the mariner was quickly being swept south by surf and currents, Qual returned to shore.
With a second attempt, Qual successfully reached the mariner.
Once he reached the man, Coast Guard members pulled Qual and the survivor back to shore using a tending line.
Click here to view the original press release about the rescue.
Rear Adm. Melvin Bouboulis, commander, 13th Coast Guard District, presided over the event.