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HALL OF HEROES
WALL OF GALLANTRY - 2007
  • LeRoy Reinburg thumb 
  • Joseph Stika thumb 
  • James Hirshfield thumb 
  • William Riedel thumb 
  • Ralph Niesz thumb 
  • Paul Yost thumb 
  • Don Bellis thumb 
  • Joseph Smith thumb 
  • Richard Oswitt thumb 
  • Merle Smith thumb 
  • Mark Guillory thumb 
  • Olav Saboe thumb 
  • LeRoy Reinburg photo

    LeRoy Reinburg

    Captain
    Class of 1905

    Navy Cross Medal

    For services during the World War as set forth in the following Citation:

     

    For distinguished service in the line of his profession as Commanding Officer of the U.S.S. Druid escorting mercantile convoys in the Mediterranean Sea in waters infested with enemy submarines.

     

    Captain Reinburg later served as Commanding Officer of the Coast Guard Yard, Curtis Bay, Maryland and was the Senior Officer of the Port of Baltimore and retired at the rank of Rear Admiral. (Download pdf) 

  • Joseph Stika photo

    Joseph Stika

    Lieutenant
    Class of 1911

    Navy Cross Medal

    For service as set forth in the following Citation:

     

    The Navy Cross is awarded to LT Stika, United States Coast Guard, for heroic conduct on the occasion of the fire at the shell-loading plant, Morgan, New Jersey, when, with others, he moved a train of nine cars loaded with high explosives to a place of safety through an area where fire was liable to break out at any moment.

     

    Lieutenant Stika was later Commander of the Western Area and retired at the rank of Vice Admiral. (Download pdf) 

  • James Hirshfield photo

    James Hirshfield

    Commander
    Class of 1925

    Navy Cross Medal

    For service as set forth in the following Citation:

     

    The Navy Cross is awarded to Commander Hirshfield, United States Coast Guard, for heroic actions as Commanding Officer of Coast Guard Cutter Campbell during the Battle of Convoy ON-166. The westward-bound convoy left the waters off Northern Ireland and sailed straight into a gale. As the high seas tossed the ships about, disrupting their formation, 21 U-boats closed in to attack. In escort group A-3, Commander Hirshfield noted with alarm the number of contacts his high frequency direction finder detected. The Campbell kept busy chasing down U-boats and rescuing survivors. In the running battle the Campbell engaged numerous U-boats, forcing them to submerge and damaging at least two. Its crew then rescued 50 survivors from a torpedoed Norwegian tanker. As the cutter returned to the convoy it detected a contact on radar. The Campbell raced toward it and soon made visual contact with surfaced U-606, earlier disabled by depth charges. The Campbell closed to ram while its gunners opened fire. The big cutter struck the U-boat with a glancing blow and one of the submarine’s hydroplanes sliced open the Campbell’s hull, flooding the engine room. The crew dropped two depth charges as the submarine slid past, and the explosions lifted the U-boat nearly five feet. The Campbell illuminated the U-boat with a spotlight and the gunners continued to fire into the submarine’s conning tower and hull. Commander Hirshfield was hit by shell fragments but remained at his station. When he realized the Germans had given up, he ordered his men to cease firing. The crew then rescued five of the U-606’s crew.

     

    Commander Hirshfield later became Assistant Commandant of the Coast Guard and retired at the rank of Vice Admiral. (Download pdf) 

  • William Riedel photo

    William R. Riedel

    Lieutenant Commander
    Class of 1939

    Bronze Star Medal (with Valor)

    For service as set forth in the following Citation:

     

    For heroic service as Commander of LST Division Forty Two and as Acting Commander of Group Twenty One, LST Flotilla Seven, in action against enemy Japanese forces during amphibious operations in the New Guinea, Muluccas and Philippine Islands Areas, from September 24, 1944, to April 2, 1945. Skillfully handling the echelons under his command, Lieutenant Commander Riedel contributed immeasurably to the success of the operations. His leadership, skill and courage were in keeping with the highest traditions of the United States Naval Service.

     

    Lieutenant Commander Riedel was later the Deputy Chief of Staff of the Coast Guard and retired at the rank of Captain. (Download pdf) 

  • Ralph Niesz photo

    Ralph Winge Niesz

    Captain
    Class of 1946

    Legion of Merit (with Valor)

    For service as set forth in the following Citation:

     

    For exceptionally meritorious conduct in the performance of outstanding service while serving with friendly forces engaged in armed conflict against the North Vietnamese and Viet Cong Communist aggressors in the Republic of Vietnam from December 1968 to December 1969. As Commander, Coast Guard Activities Vietnam and Commander, Coast Guard Squadron One, Captain Niesz provided inspiration and imaginative leadership. Under his guidance Coast Guard Squadron One consistently demonstrated outstanding operational readiness and effectiveness and aggressively prosecuted Market Time Operations which included support of amphibious operations, raids, Sea Lords Operations, reconnaissance, search and rescue operations and boarding and inspection patrols. In the detection, boarding and inspection operations of Market Time, he accounted for the seizure of tons of weapons, food, medical supplies, hundreds of Viet Cong suspects and North Vietnam personnel. His expert guidance of gunfire support operations resulted in extensive damage to enemy fortifications, transport, support equipment and floating craft and a vast number of personnel casualties to the enemy. Captain Niesz’s inspirational leadership, effective programs and vigorous application of his standards led to a major increase in the effectiveness of the Aids to Navigation programs in Vietnam, which resulted in an increased degree of safety to mariners. His professionalism and dedication enhanced the programs of port security, explosive and dangerous cargo handling and loading and merchant marine safety investigations. He aggressively led his units in the field on numerous occasions and imbued the officers and men of his command with the highest spirit. Captain Niesz’s devotion to duty, superlative professional abilities and outstanding leadership were in keeping with the highest traditions of the United States Naval Service.

     

    Captain Niesz was later the Assistant Superintendent of the Coast Guard Academy and retired and the rank of Captain. (Download pdf) 

  • Paul Yost photo

    Paul A. Yost

    Commander
    Class of 1951

    Silver Star Medal

    For service as set forth in the following Citation:

     

    For conspicuous gallantry and intrepidity in action while serving with naval forces engaged in armed conflict with the Viet Cong and North Vietnamese Communist aggressors in the Republic of Vietnam. On 12 April 1969 Commander Yost was Officer in Tactical Command of a PCT (Patrol Craft Fast), UDT and Vietnamese Marine Corps movement unit into the Duong Keo River in An Kuyen Province as part of Operation Silver Mace II. The five boats inserted their embarked troops at the mouth of the river and commenced a sweep up the river while the remaining eight boats proceeded up river to insert their embarked troops at a point several kilometers north of the first troop insertion. Commander Yost was embarked in PCF 31 in the second group of boats. As the PCF’s were proceeding up river in a column formation, they encountered an enemy ambush. The enemy forces used claymore mines, recoilless rifles, B40 rockets, 50 caliber machine guns and small arms. The two lead boats took severe damage but all boats returned fire until clear of the ambush area. Upon discovering that PCF 43 had lost control and was aground in the middle of the ambush site, Commander Yost personally returned to rescue the UDT personnel and crew of PCF 43 with two boats while the remaining boats beached out, set a defense perimeter and called in Medevac helicopters. Upon arriving at the point where PCF 43 was aground, Commander Yost discovered the survivors engaged in battle with enemy forces only 20 feet from their positions. In spite of heavy enemy fire, he brought the two rescuing PCF’s to the river bank and brought aboard the survivors and the bodies of the Officer in Charge of PCF 43 and one UDT Chief Petty Officer who had been killed in the action. Upon clearing all personnel from PCF 43, a series of explosions totally destroyed the craft. Commander Yost returned to the area where a perimeter defense had been set up, coordinated a Medevac for the wounded and dead and prepared his forces for the completion of the mission. Commander Yost exhibited tenacious and inspirational leadership. His valiant actions under fire saved the lives of the fifteen USN personnel rescued from PCF 43 and were in keeping with the highest traditions of the United States Naval Service.

     

    Commander Yost was also awarded the Legion of Merit with Valor and “Gold Star”, as well as the Combat Action Ribbon for his acts of gallantry in the Vietnam conflict. Commander Yost later became the 18th Commandant of the United States Coast Guard and retired at the rank of Admiral. (Download pdf) 

  • Don Bellis photo

    Don Stewart Bellis

    Commander
    Class of 1956

    Distinguished Flying Cross Medal

    Commander Bellis is cited for extraordinary achievement while participating in aerial flight on the afternoon of 27 May 1972 as aircraft commander of Coast Guard HH-3F 1468 helicopter engaged in the perilous rescue of three injured crewmen from the merchant vessel Zim Tokyo disabled in the turbulent Atlantic Ocean approximately 100 miles off the North Carolina coast. The ship, bound from New York to Savannah with a cargo of dangerous materials, had suffered a fire in the engine room and was disabled in 25-foot seas with winds of 35 to 40-knots generating very heavy rolls of up to 60 degrees. As a result of this severe wave action, two men were lost overboard, fire broke out on deck and ensuing explosions and flying debris caused one more death and serious injuries to three other men. Despite extremely hazardous flying conditions, complicated by failure of the Doppler navigation computer, Commander Bellis accomplished the flight by dead reckoning and coordinated radar vectors from a Coast Guard ship which was standing by the Zim Tokyo. Upon arrival, Commander Bellis’ instructions to the ship had to be passed through translators in Norfolk. After determining that the hoists would have to be from the starboard bridge wing, since the main deck of the bridge superstructure was awash with toxic gasses from the smashed cargo, Commander Bellis courageously proceeded to attempt the dangerous rescue. Despite a perilous left-hand approach and increased wind instabilities which caused enormous control difficulties, Commander Bellis carefully piloted the helicopter over the bridge wing and maintained a stable hover in close proximity to the ship’s superstructure while the injured crewmen were hoisted aboard for transfer to medical authorities. Commander Bellis’ expert aeronautical skill and dauntless valor throughout this perilous mission resulted in saving the lives of the men. His heroic courage, sound judgment and unwavering devotion to duty are in keeping with the highest traditions of the United States Coast Guard.

     

    Commander Bellis was later Chief of Operations for the 3rd Coast Guard District and retired at the rank of Captain. (Download pdf) 

  • Joseph Smith photo

    Joseph Francis Smith

    Lieutenant Commander
    Class of 1956

    Bronze Star Medal (with Valor)

    For meritorious achievement while serving with friendly foreign forces engaged in armed conflict against North Vietnamese and Viet Cong communist aggressors in the Republic of Vietnam on 26 October 1968. As Commander, Task Unit 115.3.5 in Market Time Operation Sea Lords Mission Number One, Lieutenant Commander Smith successfully guided the United States Coast Guard Cutters Point Marone and Point Young and Inshore Patrol Craft 28 and 32 through hazardous and restricted waters of the My Than River approaches to conduct a harassment and interdiction raid against known enemy commo-liaison routes and base areas located up-river. Arriving at an enemy encampment, his direction of a perfectly planned organization and a high degree of gunfire effectiveness resulted in devastation of the encampment with four sampans, eleven motorized sampans, eleven huts, six bunkers, three fifty gallon drums containing fuel, six twenty-five gallon water crocks, and two large fishing nets severely damaged or destroyed. The Task Unit came under enemy small arms and automatic weapons fire as it was extracting. Overwhelming gunfire of the combined Coast Guard Cutters and Inshore Patrol Craft quickly suppressed the enemy fire, and no friendly casualties were sustained. Lieutenant Commander Smith directed the action of his Task Unit in an exceptionally professional and effective manner, denying the enemy the continued use of numerous important facilities necessary for their survival and operations. His extraordinary degree of professional competence, devotion to duty, and courage under fire were in keeping with the highest traditions of the United States Naval Service.

     

    Lieutenant Commander Smith was later the Commanding Officer of Support Center Seattle and retired at the rank of Captain. (Download pdf) 

  • Richard Oswitt photo

    Richard Paul Oswitt

    Lieutenant Commander
    Class of 1966

    Bronze Star Medal (with Valor)

    For service as set forth in the following Citation:

     

    For meritorious service while serving with friendly foreign forces engaged in armed conflict against the North Vietnamese and Viet Cong communist aggressors in the Republic of Vietnam from February 1969 to March 1970. While serving as Commanding Officer of the United States Coast Guard Cutter Point Comfort, Lieutenant Oswitt’s aggressive leadership, initiative and sound judgment made his vessel a highly effective combat unit, compiling an impressive record in carrying out all phases of Market Time operations. His alert attitude during patrols resulted in the apprehension of numerous Viet Gong suspects and the capture of several confirmed Viet Cong. He further pursued and inflicted extremely heavy losses upon the enemy while conducting one hundred forty-eight gunfire support missions. His outstanding performance of duty greatly contributed to counter-infiltration efforts at a time of increasing enemy activity. After training a Vietnamese crew to assume the responsibility of operating his craft and the turnover was completed, he was assigned as Operations Officer of Coast Guard Division Thirteen. In that capacity, he was instrumental in planning and coordinating the combined Navy and Coast Guard Sea Lords operations. Lieutenant Oswitt’s professionalism, initiative and devotion to duty were in keeping with the highest traditions of the United States Naval Service.

     

    Lieutenant Commander Oswitt was later the Commanding Officer of Support Center Alameda and retired at the rank of Captain. (Download pdf) 

  • Merle Smith photo

    Merle J. Smith

    Lieutenant
    Class of 1966

    Bronze Star Medal (with Valor)

    For service as set forth in the following Citation:

     

    For meritorious service while serving with friendly foreign forces engaged in armed conflict against the North Vietnamese and Viet Cong communist aggressors in the Republic of Vietnam from February to December 1969. As Commanding Officer of United States Coast Guard Cutters Point Mast and Point Ellis, Lieutenant Smith performed Market Time patrols in the South China Sea. He combined aggressive leadership with mature and prudent judgment to make his units highly effective combatant forces. He directed more than eighty naval gunfire missions which resulted in heavy damage to numerous enemy structures and water craft. During an Operations Sea Lords raid, his vessel accounted for the damage or destruction of thirteen structures, ten bunkers, nineteen sampans and four rocket launchers. In early September, United States Coast Guard Cutter Point Ellis was selected for turnover to the Vietnamese Navy. His exceptional professionalism and devotion to duty enabled him to turnover that craft in a considerably shorter period of time than the previous boats. Lieutenant Smith’s outstanding professionalism and devotion to duty were in keeping with the highest traditions on the United States Naval Service.

     

    Lieutenant Smith was later a Law Instructor it the Coast Guard Academy and Advisor to the Class of 1977, and retired at the rank of Commander. (Download pdf) 

  • Mark Guillory photo

    Mark S. Guillory

    Lieutenant Commander
    Class of 1981

    Distinguished Flying Cross Medal

    Lieutenant Commander Guillory is cited for extraordinary achievement while participating in aerial flight on 10 March 1995 while serving as Aircraft Commander of Coast Guard HH-60J helicopter CGNR 6021. The aircrew was engaged in the search and rescue of three victims of a Cessna which had crashed into a mountain after encountering blinding snow. Lieutenant Commander Guillory skillfully navigated 150 miles through icing and near blizzard conditions to reach the approximate search location. With seven civilian aircraft searching the area, Lieutenant Commander Guillory immediately assumed On Scene Commander duties directing all rescue efforts. He plotted positions as the copilot wove his way through the mountainous terrain pinpointing the intensifying electronic locating transmitter signal emitting from within a box canyon. Cognizant that no escape route existed once committed in the obscured clouds, Lieutenant Commander Guillory took the controls and began the dangerous ascent. Fighting off the affects of vertigo in near white out conditions, he leap-frogged treetop to treetop for 20 intense minutes. Approaching the 2,000-foot elevation, the aircrew sighted the crashed Cessna precariously positioned on an avalanche slope. The copilot took the controls and hoisted three aircrewmen to the waist deep snow to extricate the pinned victims; one frantically waving victim was hoisted expeditiously into the helicopter. With visual on-scene relief made, Lieutenant Commander Guillory took the controls and descended by leap-frogging treetop to treetop for 20 minutes until visual reference with the beach was reestablished. Lieutenant Commander Guillory’s actions, aeronautical skill, and valor were instrumental in the rescue of three survivors. His courage, judgment, and devotion to duty are most heartily commended and are keeping with the highest traditions of the United States Coast Guard.

     

    As of 2007, Captain Guillory is currently Commander of Coast Guard Sector Juneau Alaska. (Download pdf) 

  • Olav Saboe photo

    Olav M. Saboe

    Lieutenant
    Class of 1996

    Distinguished Flying Cross Medal

    Lieutenant Saboe is cited for extraordinary achievement in aerial flight from 30 August to September 2005, as Aircraft Commander aboard Coast Guard HH-65B helicopters in response to Hurricane Katrina. Operating day after day under conditions of stress and exhaustion, he saved 143 survivors from treacherous conditions during 17 sorties totaling 30 day and night flight hours. He demonstrated exceptional aeronautical skill and judgment by pushing the power-limited HH-65B to the edge of its performance envelope near unlit hazards, despite continuous reports of violence and gunfire, thousands of distressed survivors needing rescue, and the constant threat of midair collision in the highly congested and uncontrolled airspace. Among the first on scene after the storm’s passage, Lieutenant Saboe fought through heavy rain squalls and 50 knot winds to perform a pinpoint vertical delivery of the swimmer to a destroyed fishing vessel laden with obstacles from a 150-foot hover, saving a critically injured woman. He expertly conducted 57 night hoists making rescues from balconies, porches, second story windows and rooftops, precisely hovering between trees and power lines with no safe flyout options available. Immediately upon hearing reports of shots fired at a hospital with hundreds of stranded patients, Lieutenant Saboe delivered a SWAT Team to eliminate the threat. He conducted 24 confined area take-offs and landings with little to no power reserve on debris strewn bridges and rooftops including landing “light” on the corner of a flooded school roof, rescuing 26 people. While searching for survivors, he flew over a school surrounded by rising floodwaters with over 400 people utilizing the school as a makeshift shelter. He skillfully delivered the rescue swimmer and hoisted 12 survivors, including several infants with severe medical conditions, and then coordinated with Air National Guard helicopters to complete the mission. Additionally, he continued hoisting and saving lives after being warned by authorities about a toxic cloud of hydrogen sulfide in the area, refusing to abandon the mission. Lieutenant Saboe’s actions, aeronautical skill, and valor were instrumental in the direct rescue of 143 victims. His courage, judgment, and devotion to duty are most heartily commended and are in keeping with the highest traditions of the United States Coast Guard.

     

    In addition, LCDR Saboe was awarded the Air Medal while deployed aboard CGC Boutwell, assigned to the U.S. Navy Fifth Fleet from February to May 2003 where he successfully completed 25 combat missions over Iraq in support of Operations Southern Watch and Iraqi Freedom. He was awarded a second Air Medal on September 24th, 2005 for flying into the tail end of Hurricane Rita to rescue 14 victims engulfed by floodwaters resulting from the devastating storm surge.

     

    As of 2007, Lieutenant Commander Saboe is the Engineering Officer at Air Station New Orleans and an Instructor Pilot in the HH-65C “Dauphin” helicopter. (Download pdf)