top of page

01/14/76 - 02/28/12

United States Coast Guard

The President of the United States of America takes pleasure in presenting the Coast Guard Medal to Lieutenant Dale T. Taylor, United States Coast Guard, for heroism on 9 December 2003 while serving as aircraft commander of HH-65B helicopter CG 6523 during the rescue of two survivors from the S/V JA'DA, located 47 nautical miles south of Key West, Florida. Launching from Naval Air Station Key West, the crew encountered 45-knot winds and 15-foot seas exacerbated by heavy rainsqualls. Lieutenant Taylor flew to the last known position of the distressed vessel and located the 27-foot sailboat helplessly adrift and violently pitching and rolling in the heavy seas. Unable to establish communications, the crew delivered a hand-held radio, by which--in broken English--the two survivors revealed they were sinking and pleaded to be rescued from their vessel. Despite numerous hoist attempts, the sailing vessel's instability and rigging precluded any type of basket hoist. Confronted with a sinking boat and no other reasonable rescue alternative, Lieutenant Taylor recommended to the survivors to enter the water for rescue basket recovery. After the successful hoist of one survivor, the second survivor's flotation device was swept away by the wind-whipped waves. Overcome by fatigue and unable to climb into the rescue basket or return to the sailing vessel, it was evident this 81-year-old survivor would surely drown in the crashing waves. With no rescue swimmer aboard, Lieutenant Taylor determined to rescue the otherwise vanquished survivor, quickly but methodically briefed his crew of his intent to vacate the copilot's seat and to be hoisted into the tumultuous seas. Lieutenant Taylor, fighting heavy seas to remain afloat, reached the remaining survivor just as he was going under the surface. Despite jeopardizing his own safety, Lieutenant Taylor grabbed the victim and with all his remaining strength, swam to the basket and lifted the exhausted survivor to safety shortly before the survivor would have surely succumbed to the seas. Only after this last survivor was safely aboard the helicopter was Lieutenant Taylor hoisted aboard. Lieutenant Taylor demonstrated remarkable initiative, exceptional fortitude, and bravery in spite of imminent personal danger during the rescue of two survivors from the S/V JA'DA. His courage and devotion to duty are most heartily commended and are in keeping with the highest traditions of the United States Coast Guard.

bottom of page