The Coast Guard Foundation was in attendance at the recent commissioning of the Coast Guard Cutter Joseph Napier. Foundation Trustee Robert Montgomery presented the Joseph Napier crew with a $5,000 gift for their morale fund during the ceremony at U.S. Coast Guard Sector San Juan.
This is the fifteenth fast response cutter to be commissioned into the Coast Guard as part of the continuing fleet modernization efforts and is designed to conduct maritime drug interdiction, search and rescue, national defense, and other Coast Guard missions.
Coast Guard Foundation Trustee Robert Montgomery presents a gift of $5,000 to the crew of the Joseph Napier on behalf of the Foundation.
All fast response cutters are named after a Coast Guard hero with this latest vessel being named after Capt. Joseph Napier who received the Coast Guard’s first Gold Lifesaving Medal. As keeper of the St. Joseph Life-Saving Station on the Great Lakes in Michigan he risked his life and led his crew into gale-force winds to save six aboard a stranded vessel on October 10, 1877.
According to official U.S. Coast Guard history on Napier:
“Napier found three volunteers from his crew to face the dangers of the storm and together they head out to rescue the men on the wrecked schooner.
"On the first attempt of the rescue, his boat capsized in the breakers and never made it to the vessel. Napier and the three other crewmen pulled themselves back onto their rescue boat and readied themselves for a second attempt.
"The second attempt proved to be more successful and the life-saving crew brought back two sailors. Napier and his crew went out for a third trip when their boat became completely swamped with water. The rescue of the remaining crew seemed impossible, but Napier and his crewmen bailed the boat as they continued to battle breaking seas and again reached the vessel taking off two more men from the D. G. Williams.
"On the fourth attempt Napier and his crew were thrown out of the boat during a surge of waves, and one of his legs was seriously inured. As one of the men safely swam ashore Napier was able to pull himself towards the rescue boat from a line that a crewmember threw to him. Napier, now battling his leg injury along with the harsh seas, succeeded in righting his boat and brought it alongside the schooner. The remaining two men were taken aboard and finally, after every last effort was made, the crew of the D. G. Williams was joined together safely ashore."