Coastguardsmen Honored for Heroic Rescue Near Port of Virginia

Clare Becht, a boat crash survivor, embraces Coast Guard Seaman Daniel Brennes, a boat crew member at Station Little Creek, May 22 (USCG)

By The Maritime Executive 05-23-2019 02:00:43

On Wednesday, four U.S. Coast Guard boat crew members received awards for their actions during a search and rescue case and reunited with two of the four boat crash survivors during a ceremony at Coast Guard Station Little Creek in Virginia Beach, just outside the Port of Virginia. 

Petty Officer 1st Class Nathan Reynolds, a coxswain at the station, Petty Officer 3rd Class Parker Bohannon, a machinery technician at the station, and Seamen Daniel Brennes and Loren Greenlund received Coast Guard Commendation Medals for their response to a boat crash on the Little Creek jetty on Dec. 23, 2018.

When they were alerted that a 23-foot boat had allided with the jetty, the crew launched a response boat and arrived on scene within 17 minutes of the initial call for help. They discovered that all four people aboard the vessel had sustained serious injuries, including internal bleeding, facial trauma and broken bones.

Robert McCall's 23-foot boat stranded on the rocks of Little Creek Jetty in Virginia Beach, Dec. 23, 2018 (USCG)

The crew members traversed the slippery jetty rocks and formed a human chain in the 44-degree water to remove the four injured people from the boat, which was suspended on the rocks at a 70-degree pitch. Reynolds directed his crew to secure the damaged boat to large rocks with mooring lines while Greenlund, a certified EMT, triaged the injured boaters and fastened each to a Stokes litter to transfer them off the jetty.

“I couldn’t have put together a better crew for this case,” said Reynolds. “Greenlund is the only EMT at the entire station, Brennes was previously a medic in the Marines, and Bohannon is one of the most seasoned boat engineers at the unit.”

The crew transferred the injured boaters to Virginia Beach EMS, who had to resuscitate Robert McCall, the owner and operator of the boat. “It’s just unbelievable how it happened and how lucky we were to have those guys,” said McCall.

McCall and Clare Becht, another of the four survivors, met with the Station Little Creek crew at the ceremony to thank them for their actions that night. “I feel very grateful that I had the opportunity to see them and thank them,” Becht said. “It kind of makes you want to cry. I don’t know whether it’s tears of joy or relief.”