US Coast Guard Fast Response Cutter John F. McCormick named for a hero of the Coast Guard
Written by Christopher Havern.
Boatswain John F. McCormick was officer-in-charge of the wooden 52-foot motor lifeboat Triumph out of Station Point Adams at the mouth of the Columbia River. On March 26, 1938, Triumph proceeded out to the bar and stood by while several crab boats crossed in. The tug Tyee with a barge load of logs in tow was attempting to cross out. Tyee passed too closely to the lifebuoy and the barge drifted into the outer break on Clatsop Spit. While attempting to assist Tyee, Triumph was carried broadside on the face of a wave with the masts completely submerged.
Surfman Robert O. Bracken had been washed overboard by the force of the sea. Bracken would have been drowned had it not been for the skill of McCormick and the cooperation of Chief Motor Machinist Mate Albert L. Olsen and Surfman Harold W. Lawrence. McCormick, acting with exceptional skill, maneuvered Triumph against the strong current, into the breakers and picked up the drowning man. Meanwhile, Olsen remained in the engine room during all these maneuvers while McCormick stayed at the controls under perilous conditions and Lawrence rendered commendable service.
For his heroic action in affecting the rescue of Surfman Bracken, John F. McCormick was awarded the Gold Lifesaving Medal on Nov. 7, 1938.