Petty Officer 2nd Class Thomas Henry has been honored with the Admiral Chester R. Bender Award for Heroism for two harrowing helicopter rescues in 2010.
On March 25, 2010 Henry responded with his helicopter crew to a distress call of four surfers pulled into a small enclave surrounded by steep cliffs and jagged rocks. Pummeled by tumultuous waves and confronting the dangerously panicked surfers, he was deployed into the water to hoist all four individually out of the water to safety despite peril and tremendous physical challenge.
Henry was also being honored for a courageous actions on the evening of July 5, 2010 during a response to a call of four people clinging to a 70-degree cliff, 120-feet above the beach. Deployed for a vertical rescue with blowing debris obscuring his visibility, Henry realized and communicated mid-rescue that his hoist cable had wrapped around the helicopter’s landing gear. Demonstrating unwavering composure, for twenty minutes he bravely hung below the aircraft until he was safely delivered to an airport runway.
The Coast Guard Foundation is a non-profit organization founded in 1969 that supports projects that enhance the education, welfare and morale of Coast Guard members and their families.
Coast Guard Commandant Adm. Bob Papp poses with Petty Officer 2nd Class Thomas Henry, an aviation survival technician stationed at Group/Air Station North Bend, Ore., who received the Admiral Chester R. Bender Award for Heroism during the Coast Guard Foundation’s 26th Annual Pacific Area awards dinner in San Diego, Aug. 3rd.