WWII Coast Guardsman honored for heroism

Storekeeper Second Class Richard Swanson was awarded the Navy and Marine Corps Medal for his role in the February 3, 1943 rescue of 93 survivors from the S.S. Dorchester after their ship was torpedoed off the coast of Greenland. (U.S. Coast Guard photo)

Storekeeper Second Class Richard Swanson was awarded the Navy and Marine Corps Medal for his role in the February 3, 1943 rescue of 93 survivors from the S.S. Dorchester after their ship was torpedoed off the coast of Greenland. (U.S. Coast Guard photo)

Earlier this week, Storekeeper Second Class Richard N. Swanson was awarded the Navy and Marine Corps Medal for an act of heroism during World War II.

Storekeeper Second Class Richard Swanson is presented the Navy and Marine Corps Medal by Coast Guard Master Chief Petty Officer Deane Smith, officer-in-charge of the Coast Guard Cutter Gasconade (left) and Nebraska Governor Dave Heineman (right).

Storekeeper Second Class Richard Swanson is presented the Navy and Marine Corps Medal by Coast Guard Master Chief Petty Officer Deane Smith, officer-in-charge of the Coast Guard Cutter Gasconade (left) and Nebraska Governor Dave Heineman (right). Swanson was recognized for his role in the rescue of 93 survivors from the S.S. Dorchester on February 3, 1943.

According to the official citation from the acting Secretary of the Navy, Swanson was recognized with the nation’s second highest non-combatant medal,

For heroic conduct while serving onboard USS COMANCHE (WPG 76) in effecting the rescue of survivors from the torpedoes S.S. DORCHESTER on 3 February 1943. When the be-numbed survivors of the DORCHESTER were unable, because of heavy seas and freezing wind, to make any effort to climb onboard the rescuing ship, Storekeeper Second Class Swanson volunteered for the dangerous task of going over the side and working in the rough, freezing water in order to assist the exhausted and helpless survivors in reaching the safety of the COMANCHE. In spite of the strong, sub-freezing wind and the near freezing rough seas, he ignored all discomforts and danger and worked with complete disregard or his own safety until he and his fellow volunteers had rescued a total of 93 survivors from certain death in the steadily mounting seas.

Swanson is the second WWII Coast Guardsman to be honored for bravery during the DORCHESTER rescue in recent months. Back in November, Ensign John Simmons, also of the COMANCHE, was post-humously awarded the Navy and Marine Corps Medal for his own efforts that night.

Click here to read more about the USS COMANCHE, including the rescue of the crew of the DORCHESTER.

USS Comanche, CG (WPG-76), circa 1943, with her added war-time armament and camouflage. (U.S. Coast Guard photo, photographer unknown.)

USS Comanche, CG (WPG-76), circa 1943, with her added war-time armament and camouflage. (U.S. Coast Guard photo, photographer unknown.)

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