A Coast Guard small boat crew from South Padre Island, Texas will be honored for heroism in the line of duty at the Coast Guard Foundation's 20th Annual Tribute to the 8th District on Friday, March 1 in New Orleans.
On the night of October 11, 2012, the crew of the 33-foot special law enforcement boat was patrolling the international maritime border off of South Padre Island, Texas when they spotted a Mexican vessel illegally fishing in U.S. waters. In addition to being harmful to the maritime environment, these vessels are often used for smuggling drugs and other contraband.
The Coast Guard boat approached the illegal vessel, which immediately turned south, fleeing at a high rate of speed. The Coast Guard crew engaged in pursuit, and tried to get the vessel to stop, including firing flash bang grenades with no effect.
An example of the Coast Guard fast boat used in this case.
The pilot of the illegal vessel made repeated aggressive moves, even attempting to ram the Coast Guard boat. At one point during the confrontation, the vessel tried to strike the outboard engines of the Coast Guard boat.
Eventually, the crew was able to get alongside the illegal vessel, and, using a boat hook, sever the boat's fuel lines. The captain of the illegal vessel still would not listen to the Coast Guard crew's orders, and the coxswain on the Coast Guard boat was forced to use pepper spray to subdue the suspect. Thanks to the crew's professionalism and swift action, they were able to bring the suspects into custody without injuries or property damage.
The Coast Guard's role in maritime law enforcement helps make our country safer. Every day, the brave men and women of the service ensure our ports, waterways, and coasts are protected from environmental and foreign threats. Please join us in honoring these brave individuals on March 1 in New Orleans.
South Padre Island, Texas Crew of CG-33122LT Joshua Sagers
BM2 Steven Dann, Jr.
BM2 Alejandro Gutierrez, Jr.
BM2 Richard Haynie
BM3 Christopher Peacock
BM3 Peter Hearn
BM3 Percival Moore, Jr.