Texas Coast Guard Members to be Honored for Heroism, Mission Excellence

Posted on November 01, 2018

The Coast Guard Foundation will recognize Texas Coast Guard members at our Annual Houston Awards Dinner on November 1, 2018.

CWO Christian Wilson, USCG On the evening of august 25, 2017, Hurricane Harvey made landfall and devastated southeast Texas with catastrophic flooding. The five-day rain event, which brought a historic 52 inches of rainfall to the Texas coast, inundated the Houston metropolitan area and nearby communities, causing thousands of residents, now victims of inescapable flooding, to seek shelter and rescue from first responders.

CWO Wilson served at the Galveston County Emergency Operations Center (EOC) during the storm. Though assigned as a Marine Inspector, he seamlessly transitioned to, and led the coordination of, urban search and rescue (SAR) efforts throughout Galveston County. In this dynamic operation, he utilized assets from the Coast Guard, Galveston County Sheriffs, Texas Search and Rescue, Briar-Reno Fire Department, Texas National Guard and the “Texas Navy.”

Throughout the course of the event, the Galveston County EOC fielded over 1,500 calls through the 911 system and organized the rescue of more than 3,000 local citizens. CWO Wilson personally managed over 600 of these cases and was responsible for the rescue of more than 2,400 lives.

At the onset of the storm, CWO Wilson developed a Quick Response Card for the EOC staff to utilize while fielding calls, ensuring that critical pieces of information were recorded. Gathering this information enabled him the ability to prioritize response efforts and increase efficiency of rescue crews.

Most notably, he quickly took action after receiving a plea for help on his personal phone when a photo of elderly wheelchair bound and medically vulnerable residents trapped in waist-deep water at a nursing home went viral. CWO Wilson dispatched two dump trucks to retrieve 15 elderly residents and their caretakers. As the dump trucks drove down the flooded road leading to the nursing home, they were impeded by the substantial outcry for help from flood-ravaged citizens. Determined to rescue as many people possible, CWO Wilson collaborated with the National Guard to dispatch 22 high-water vehicles to recover over 200 Dickinson residents, thus allowing the dump trucks to proceed to the nursing home.

Because of CWO Wilson’s actions, all 15 residents and three caretakers were safely evacuated from the nursing home and transported to shelters where they received critical medical care. CWO Wilson’s unrelenting efforts throughout Hurricane Harvey were truly life changing to thousands of citizens in the local community. The Coast Guard Foundation is proud to honor CWO Wilson for his outstanding service to our nation. His heroism, bravery, and devotion to duty are in keeping with the highest traditions of the United States Coast Guard.