Westport Coast Guardsmen to Receive 2016 AFRAS Gold Medal

The Coast Guard is scheduled to present the Coast Guard Medal for Heroism to Petty Officer 1st Class Jacob Hylkema at Coast Guard Station Grays Harbor in Westport, at 4:15 p.m. this Friday.  The Coast Guard Medal is the 3rd highest award that a Coast Guardsman can be awarded during peacetime, and Hylkema is being cited for his heroism on the night of Oct. 6, 2016.

Hylkema was serving as a crewmember aboard Station Grays Harbor’s 52-foot Motor Lifeboat Invincible during the rescue of the master of the sailing vessel Grace offshore the Long Beach Peninsula. After recognizing the master was entangled in a line in the water, unable to free himself and in danger of drowning, Hylkema volunteered to jump into the 18 to 20 foot breaking seas as a surface swimmer. He swam 150 feet to the master and cut him free. He then held the master in the life ring as his fellow crewmembers aboard the Invincible pulled them back to the rescue boat.

In August 2017, Hylkema previously was awarded for this rescue effort with a Gold Medal by the Association for Rescue at Sea. In attendance at the ceremony to present the Coast Guard Medal will be Rep. Derek Kilmer of Washington’s 6th Congressional District, Rear Adm. David Throop, commander, Coast Guard 13th District and Capt. Bill Timmons, commander, Coast Guard Sector Columbia River.

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The Coast Guard Medal was first authorized by Title USC §493, Aug. 4, 1949. The Coast Guard Medal may be awarded, by the President, but not in the name of Congress, to any person who, while serving in any capacity with the Coast Guard, distinguishes themselves by heroism not involving actual conflict with an enemy.  To justify this decoration, individuals must have performed a voluntary act of heroism in the face of great danger to themselves and such as to stand out distinctly above normal expectations.

Westport Coast Guardsmen to Receive 2016 AFRAS Gold Medal
A Coast Guard boatcrew on the 52-foot Motor Lifeboat Invincible, returns to Station Grays Harbor after rescuing of the master of the sailing vessel Grace, Oct. 6, 2016. Petty Officer 2nd Class Petty Officer Jacob M. Hylkema, the surface swimmer aboard the Invincible, will be awarded the 2016 AFRAS Gold Medal for extraordinary heroism. U.S. Coast Guard photo by Chief Warrant Officer Cheston Evans.

 

The ceremony will be held at:

Coast Guard Station Grays Harbor

1600 N. Nyhus Street

Westport, WA, 98595-0568

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