Cmdr. Joe Mattina, left, the aircraft commander aboard the HH-3F Pelican
helicopter that saved the lives of two people aboard the fishing vessel
Wayward Wind that sank in 1988, receives an Air Medal from Rear Adm.
Thomas P. Ostebo during a ceremony at Air Station Kodiak, Thursday, July
19, 2012. Mattina and his crew conducted the rescue at a time before there were
rescue swimmers in the Coast Guard and executed some very challenging
maneuvers in 15-foot seas, 40 mph winds and blowing snow during the
rescue.U.S. Coast Guard photo by Petty Officer 3rd Class Jonathan Klingenberg
now-retired crew of a Coast Guard HH-3F Pelican helicopter was honored Thursday
for their bravery in a rescue almost a quarter-century ago.
86-foot trawler Wayward Wind sank with
four of its six hands on January 18, 1988, in 15-foot seas, 40 mph winds and
blowing snow, 115 miles southwest of Kodiak. Two crewmembers were rescued by
the Air Station Kodiak helicopter crew.
Admiral Ostebo presented the Coast Guard's Air Medal to the four helicopter crewmen,
Commander Joe Mattina, Commander Chris Broxterman, AMT1 Marty Heckerman and AT2
Claude Brown. The admiral said the heroic action of the men in saving two of
the Wayward Wind's crew was overlooked at the time, and wanted to recognize their
Neilson of Kodiak was one of the two people rescued from the boat, and told the
air crew at the ceremony that they had actually saved a third life - that of
her unborn daughter she was pregnant with at the time.