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Coast Guard Air Station Houston Crew Recognized for Saving 9 During Rig Fire

The Air Medal is awarded to individuals serving with the Armed Forces who distinguish themselves by heroic or meritorious achievement in aerial flight.

Coast Guard Air Station Houston crew members were recognized during a ceremony at the air station Friday for their response during a rig fire in Sabine Pass, Texas.

Rear Adm. Richard V. Timme, commander, Coast Guard District Eight, presented Air Medals to Cmdr. James Conner, an MH-65 Dolphin helicopter pilot, Petty Officer 1st Class Vincent Neiman, an aviation survival technician, and Petty Officer 2nd Class Christopher Collins, an aviation maintenance technician. 

Lt. Daniel Chase, an MH-65 Dolphin helicopter pilot and the copilot for this case, also received an Air Medal at Coast Guard Air Station Kodiak, Alaska, the unit to which he is now assigned.

On Feb. 24, Conner, Chase, Neiman and Collins were instrumental in rescuing nine trapped crew members from the Pride Wisconsin, a decommissioned mobile offshore drilling unit that caught fire in Sabine Pass. The helicopter crew hoisted and transported all nine crew members to a nearby rig, which was accessible to emergency medical services personnel on land. 

“Saving nine lives is no small feat,” said Cmdr. Ryan Matson, commanding officer of Air Station Houston. “The crew’s expertise, bravery and heroism forever changed nine families. My mind was put at ease knowing I had an extraordinary crew in that helicopter and I’m so very proud of each of them.”

The Air Medal is awarded to individuals serving with the Armed Forces who distinguish themselves by heroic or meritorious achievement in aerial flight.

Read the initial press release about the rescue here.

Read more at USCG

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