Quillayute River Disaster


USCG photo by PA2 Tiffany Powell
La Push, Washington 9 March 1997
USCG Photo

This is the memorial which was erected to honor Boatswain's Mate Second Class David A. Bosley, Machinery Technician Matthew Schlimme, and Seaman Clinton Miniken and is situated in the grounds of Station Quillayute. The memorial service was held on the 19 February 1997 in the tiny Indian village of La Push, Washington, for these three Coast Guardsmen who lost their lives responding to a distress call from a dismasted sailboat in heavy sea conditions.

USCG Photo

This is what is written on the bronze plaque that adorns the memorial:

David A. Bosley
Boatswain's Mate
Second Class
Clinton P. Miniken
Matthew E. Schlimme
Machinery Technician
Third Class

These poor plain men, dwellers upon the
lonely shores, took their lives in their hands,
and at the most imminent risk,
crossed the most tumultuous sea…,
and all for what?
That others might live to see home and friends.

Coast Guard Station
Quillayute River
La Push Washington
February 12, 1997

USCG Photo

La Push, Washington, 19 February 1997

The crowd of more than 600 mourners pays their respects to BM2 David Bosley, MK3 Matthew Schlimme and SN Clinton Miniken.

USCG photo by PA1 Steve M. Aitkins
La Push, Washington, 19 February 1997
USCG photo by PA1 Steve M. Aitkins
La Push, Washington, 19 February 1997

La Push, Washington, 19 February 1997

Members of the Quillayute tribe wrap Master Chief Petty Officer G.A. La Forge, officer-in-charge of Station Quillayute and Seaman Apprentice Benjamin Wingo, the only survivor of the accident, in blankets during a traditional Indian ritual. The blankets will bring them safety throughout their lives.

James Island, Washington, 14 February 1997
The 44-ft. motor lifeboat (44363) lies grounded on a rocky shore at James Island, Washington after capsizing three times, the second time stern over bow as well as being bounced on and off the rocks. The top portion of the boat had been torn away. Rips, scratches, and several deep dents marred its white hull. The boat's engine was still running when its lone survivor, Seaman Apprentice Ben Wingo, bruised and battered on the night of 12 February 1997, stepped down off the boat in waist-deep water and waded to shore where he set off a flare.
USCG photos by PA3 Della Price
James Island, Washington, 14 February 1997

Articles on the accident, from the Seattle Times

USCG 44393 and USCG 44363 at Quillayute River

Past Tragedy Leads to Safer Future


If you have any photos which you would be willing to let me copy for use on this page I would very much like to hear from you. I'm also interested in any information which doesn't appear here. (e-mail)