Coast Guard Heroes: Jacob Lauri Arthur Poroo

The Coast Guard Compass was proud to unveil the first 14 heroes the service’s new fast response cutters would be named for and we are even prouder to share the next 10 names with you in a continuation of our Coast Guard Heroes series. Over the next two weeks we’ll be sharing profiles of the namesakes of the Coast Guard’s fast response cutters, from legends of the U.S. Life-Saving Service to courageous men who served during the Vietnam War. Today, we share with you the story of Jacob Lauri Arthur Poroo.

An aerial view of the Adak LORAN Transmitting Station as it was in 1961. U.S. Coast Guard photo.

An aerial view of the Adak LORAN Transmitting Station as it was in 1961. U.S. Coast Guard photo.

Written by Christopher Havern.

Jacob Lauri Arthur Poroo was a Hospital Corpsman 1st Class who was stationed at Adak Island, Alaska. On the morning of June 2, 1968, he entered a burning cabin to attempt a rescue.

When fire erupted about 3: 30 a.m., it engulfed the doorway of the old recreation building. Poroo, together with seven other men, successfully escaped. Hearing shouting and believing it to be a cry for help from a trapped companion, Poroo re-entered the flaming cabin to render assistance with complete disregard for his own safety.

The main building at the Adak LORAN Transmitting Station. U.S. Coast Guard photo.

The main building at the Adak LORAN Transmitting Station. U.S. Coast Guard photo.

Poroo received second and third degree burns over 75 percent of his body before he finally left the burning building, assured that his companions were safe. He then calmly gave sound medical advice to his injured companions until help arrived.

Poroo later succumbed to his injuries. His outstanding courage, intrepidity and unselfish actions were in keeping with the highest traditions of the United States Coast Guard. For his heroic action, Poroo was posthumously awarded the Coast Guard Medal Aug. 10, 1968.

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2 Responses

  1. joe worsham says:

    Thie info on this is incorrect. I was a shipmate of Jacob Poroo and he served on board the buoy tender (WLB 62) Balsam stationed out of Adak. He was not assigned to the Loran station when this incident happened. He was our corpsman on the Balsam and i knew him very well. Please correct this error or contact me for further details. Please e-mail me or call me at 770-235-4195.

  2. joe worsham says:

    I was a shipmate of Jacob Poroo, we served on the USCG Balsam WLB-62 in 1968 and I was there when this tragedy occurred. Jacob was not serving on the Loran Station he was a corpsman on the Balsam. The fire did not occur at the Loran station. It happened at a quonset hut up in the mountains and hills on Adak. Jacob was a true hero indeed, but keep the facts straight. Contact me if you want more details.

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