The Coast Guard cutter Benjamin Bottoms was commissioned as the fourth Sentinel-Class Fast Response Cutter to be based in Los Angeles, at a ceremony in San Diego on May 1.
Coast Guard Foundation board member Tom Wetherald presented an $8,000 gift to Commanding Officer Lt. Lennie Day for the crew to begin its morale and wellness fund.
The cutter is named for Radioman First Class Benjamin Bottoms, who enlisted in the Coast Guard in 1932 and died in the line of duty in 1942 when he and Lt. John A. Pritchard attempted a hazardous rescue of an U.S. Army aircrew that crashed into an ice cap near the west coast of Greenland. Their first rescue flight successfully picked up two injured airmen; the following day their rescue operation resumed for the Army airmen left at the ice cap. Soon after takeoff, they encountered terrible weather and crashed. A search and rescue operation proved futile and the remains of Bottoms, Pritchard, and the injured airman who survived the earlier crash were never recovered.
For his service in the daring rescues, Bottoms was posthumously awarded the Distinguished Flying Cross.
“Radioman First Class Benjamin Bottoms is a Coast Guard hero,” said Adm. Charles Ray, the Coast Guard vice commandant. “He was the embodiment of honor, commitment and sacrifice — the motto of this new cutter.”