Honor, Respect, Devotion to Duty: Coast Guardsmen honored for heroic actions

Written by Petty Officer 2nd Class Connie Terrell 

Coast Guardsmen honored for heroic actions

Coast Guard Lt. Jonathan Scott and Chief Petty Officer Keith Watters, (center) both members of Marine Safety Unit Baton Rouge, stand with Lt. Col. Charlie Dupuy, assistant superindendent, Louisiana State Police (left), and Col. Michael Edmonson, superintendent, LSP, after receiving an award during a ceremony at the LSP Training Academy in Baton Rouge, May 10, 2016. Scott and Watters were awarded a Louisiana State Police Meritorious Service Award for their actions on Sept. 10, 2015. U.S. Coast Guard photo by Petty Officer 2nd Class Jonathan Lally.

 This post originally appeared on Coast Guard Heartland

U.S. Coast Guardsmen Lt. Jonathan Scott and Chief Petty Officer Keith Watters respond to casualties every day- marine casualties that is, as part of their job as inspectors for the Coast Guard Marine Safety Unit in Baton Rouge, Louisiana.

But, on September 10, 2015, Watters and Scott were headed back to their unit after having just responded to a towboat sinking on the Mississippi River when they saw a different type of emergency.

A car had crashed into the median and spun out onto busy Interstate 10, facing the wrong direction. Looking through the windshield, Watters and Scott could see the driver was passed out.

“It was the middle of the night and I could hear the trucks flying by,” Watters said. “We were worried a semi-truck would hit him.”

The pair used their unit vehicle’s emergency lights to help redirect traffic around the disabled vehicle in order to prevent a head-on collision from oncoming traffic while also allowing them to help the 21-year-old incapacitated driver to safety.

“He had shattered glass from his windshield on his face and body,” Scott said. “We helped him to our truck and notified 911.”

“The Coast Guard prepares all of us to meet the demands of the moment,” Scott said. “It is in the nature of our service to help where we are needed. That night we did what everyone one of us would do presented with the same situation.”

Their actions not only kept the driver of the disabled vehicle safe, but possibly prevented an accident from happening that could’ve cause major injuries to multiple people.

Coast Guardsmen honored for heroic actions

Coast Guard Lt. Jonathan Scott, member of Marine Safety Unit Baton Rouge, center, shakes hands with Louisiana State Police Superintendent Col. Michael Edmonson upon receiving a Louisiana State Police Meritorious Serivce Award in Baton Rouge at the Louisiana State Police Training Academy, May 10, 2016. Scott and another member of MSU Baton Rouge were recognized for their action in rescuing and preventing U.S. Coast Guard photo by Petty Officer 2nd Class Jonathan Lally.

“During our normal duties as a marine safety unit, we don’t ever see incidents like this,” Watters said. “We’re always out responding to oil spills and investigating incidents.”

According to the police, the driver said that he had been out celebrating his 21st birthday and did not know where he was or how his car became disabled.

“I thought it was terrible how his birthday turned out,” Scott said. “Fortunately it didn’t turn out worse and he didn’t hurt himself or anyone else.”

The Coast Guardsmen were awarded the Louisiana State Police Meritorious Service Award, during an awards ceremony held at the Louisiana State Police Training Academy in Baton Rouge, May 10, 2016, for the rescue.

“We had no idea we were getting an award until a couple days before,” Watters said. “We didn’t expect any recognition for it, but was humbled by it.”

The award is given for performance of duty that exceeds the normal expectations of duty and demonstrates an exceptional degree of good judgment, initiative, and competence.

“We were just at the right place at the right time and took the right path,” said Watters. “It’s not every day we get the opportunity to save someone’s life, but as Coasties, it’s in our nature to take the right actions when the time presents itself.”

Tags: