Date of Action: 23 June 1964
Date of Award: 20 May 1965
For heroism, on June 23, 1964, while serving as coxswain of CG-44303, when he rescued four persons and a shipmate from drowning on the Umpqua River bar, Winchester Bay, Oregon. STEVENS and his crew, on bar patrol at the time, safely escorted 25 fishing skiffs across the hazardous bar. However, five skiffs remained trapped outside the bar. The accident occurred when one of these boats was struck by a 30 foot breaker and capsized, throwing the occupants into the surf. Simultaneously, the CG-44303 was caught by a huge breaker and rolled 170 degrees, throwing a crew member overboard. As soon as the CG-44303 righted herself, STEVENS skillfully maneuvered the boat to recover his shipmate and the four persons in the water. The survivors of the skiff were then transported to shore for medical care. Thereafter, STEVENS returned across the Umpqua bar and, after taking the occupants aboard the CG-44303, he towed two more skiffs to shore. By his perseverance, a total of 85 persons were assisted to safety, without serious casualty or injury. STEVENS demonstrated initiative, fortitude, and great ability in spite of ever present personal danger during the entire rescue mission. His unselfish actions and unwavering devotion to duty reflect the highest credit upon himself and the United States Coast Guard.