Recap of the 38th Annual Salute to the U.S. Coast Guard

Posted on October 11, 2018

Five hundred plus gathered in New York City on October 4 to pay tribute to United States Coast Guard, and their heroism and bravery, in particular in the face of great danger.

The New York event, in its 38th year, is the Coast Guard Foundation’s longest-standing salute.

AST2 Sam Knoeppel, USCG, a rescue swimmer, was honored for his bravery and mission excellence during the 2017 hurricane season, in particular, his actions during Hurricane Harvey, when he was deployed to the Houston-area from Coast Guard Air Station Miami in Florida.

In response to the devastation caused by the storm Petty Officer Knoeppel immediately volunteered to reposition to Houston, Texas to assist with search and rescue efforts. Notably, on August 28, Petty Officer Knoeppel deployed from a helicopter in a 150-foot hover to rescue 27 people from chest deep floodwaters, including young children, elderly citizens and a pregnant woman. The following day, he coordinated two complex hospital-to-hospital transfers of patients in dire need of critical care. In both instances the Petty Officer selflessly placed himself in high-risk environments to physically carry patients on a litter to a suitable landing site for helicopter pickup. For the duration of both flights, he performed lifesaving first aid to the patients who were unconscious and not able to breathe unassisted. With the helicopter unable to land at the receiving hospital, Petty Officer Knoeppel again carried both patients 150 yards through ankle deep mud to awaiting emergency medical teams.

Petty Officer Knoeppel, now stationed in Elizabeth City, North Carolina, proved his skills and training were in demand once again this year when he responded to the hurricane that hit the Carolinas and Georgia. Once again, Petty Officer Knoeppel served bravely and honorably and assisted many residents of the impacted region.