The Coast Guard Academy inducted the newest group of members to the Hall of Heroes Thursday night including two former athletes, Captain William W. Peterson and Rear Admiral Chester A. Richmond.
Captain Peterson was the goalkeeper for the men's soccer team and played shortstop for the baseball team while Rear Admiral Richmond was the captain of the men's basketball team.
The Hall of Heroes was established in April 2005 to honor United States Coast Guard Academy graduates who have died in the line of duty or performed heroic service to the United States Coast Guard and the Nation. It is located in Chase Hall and includes the Wall of Gallantry, the Wall of Remembrance, the Cadet Memorial Wall and the Wall of Valor.
Captain William W. Peterson
Lieutenant Peterson received the Distinguished Flying Cross for extraordinary achievement on 30 July 1982 as aircraft commander of Coast Guard HH-52A helicopter 1425 engaged in the perilous rescue of nine survivors from a Coast Guard HC-130 fixed wing 1600. The HC-130 had crashed in bad weather while on a flight from Shemya Air Force Base (AFB) to Coast Guard Loran Station Attu Island, Alaska.
Flying in extremely hazardous conditions with ceiling as low as 65 feet, visibility as low as 1/16th of a mile, and winds gusting up to 30 knots, Lieutenant Peterson flew his helicopter across 90 miles of open sea from Coast Guard Cutter Mellon to Attu where he began homing in on an Electronic Locater Transmitter beacon. Inching the helo along the side of a mountain in thick fog, 40 knot winds, and turbulence, the crew located four survivors.
Leaving his co-pilot at the crash site to direct the groups arriving from the Loran Station, Lieutenant Peterson and his air-crewman transported the remaining five survivors and then the original four to Shemya AFB.
Because of the heroic efforts and aeronautical skills of Lieutenant Peterson, all of the crash survivors were located and transported in a timely fashion. Lieutenant Peterson's courage, judgment, and unwavering devotion to duty are in keeping with the highest traditions of the United States Coast Guard.
Rear Admiral Chester A. Richmond
Commander Chester Richmond received the Distinguished Flying Cross for extraordinary achievement on 12 and 13 April 1961, as pilot of HUL-1G CGNR 1338, single-engine Sioux helicopter, engaged in delivery of a doctor and emergency medical supplies to St. George Island, Alaska, and subsequent air evacuation of two critically burned people.
Commander Richmond had departed the Coast Guard Air Detachment, Kodiak, Alaska as Aircraft Commander of UF-2G CGNR 7228, an amphibious fixed wing known as the Albatross, to accomplish the mission; however, surrounding ice conditions prevented a water landing so he proceeded to St. Paul Island to await the arrival of HUL-1G CGNR 1338, which he had ordered for use as alternate means of rescue.
Disregarding his own safety in hazardous weather conditions, Commander Richmond immediately departed for St. George with a doctor and emergency supplies of board. The ensuing 43 mile over-water flight was accomplished in total darkness, and a landing executed at the village ball field illuminated only by headlights of two trucks.
The doctor and medical supplies were rushed to the aid of the critically burned individuals, and emergency treatment was administered throughout the night.
At daybreak, Commander Richmond successfully evacuated the doctor and patients to St. Paul Island, where they could be further transported to a hospital. Commander Richmond's expert airmanship, dauntless valor, sound judgment, and devotion to duty reflect the highest credit upon himself and the United States Coast Guard.