Painting of the Escanaba rescue effort by an unknown artist. (U.S. Coast Guard)

The Long Blue Line: Warren Deyampert – African-American rescue swimmer of World War II

In a time of unrest, when U-boats patrolled the icy waters of the North Atlantic, a crew of three bravely volunteered to serve the hazardous duty of rescue swimmer aboard Coast Guard Cutter Escanaba. Second Class Officer’s Steward Warren Deyampert worked on the cutter to develop a system of tethered rescue swimmers that ultimately saved well over 100 lives after an enemy submarine torpedoed U.S. Army transport Dorchester. Despite his secondary status in a segregated service, Deyampert placed the needs of others before his own and was posthumously awarded the Navy & Marine Corps Medal and Purple Heart Medal.