Fred Mann, U.S. Coast Guard retired, celebrates his 97th birthday at Station South Padre Island in 2016. U.S. Coast Guard photo.

The Long Blue Line: Fred Mann, Silver Star Medal hero of Guadalcanal

When a Japanese bomber hit USS George Elliott off the beaches of Guadalcanal in 1942, Frederick “Fred” Dean Mann gallantly re-entered a burning compartment to fight the blazes. His actions prevented a catastrophic explosion, and allowed all troops and crew, including Mann, to safely evacuate the ship. This Coast Guard war hero earned the Silver Star, Purple Heart and a Presidential Unit Citation. He died last year but continues to be celebrated as a member of the long blue line who served the Coast Guard with distinction during wartime and peacetime.

Veterans Day: Self-proclaimed “Coast Guard brat” reflects on servicemembers of yesterday and today

I know my children grew up safe because of the sacrifices made by servicemembers. We lead these bright shiny lives of freedom, and sometimes we need to take a moment and thank those who make it possible.