The Coast Guard commissioned the seventh Sentinel Class Fast Response Cutter, the CHARLES DAVID JR., in Key West, Florida on Saturday, November 15, as part of its continuing fleet modernization efforts.
The Coast Guard Foundation has sponsored a series of commissionings of new cutters, including those of the ROBERT YERED, WILLIAM FLORES, MARGARET NORVELL, and PAUL CLARK. On the occasion of the CHARLES DAVID commissioning, a generous Coast Guard Foundation donor, and Coast Guard Auxiliarist, Steven Cook, donated $5,000 for the ship's morale fund.
Coast Guard Foundation Director Chris Bollinger presents a gift of $5,000 to the crew of the Charles David Jr. on behalf of the Foundation. The gift was made by generous donor and Coast Guard Auxiliarist Steven Cook.
The new cutters being added to the fleet are all named in honor of enlisted Coast Guard heroes, Charles David Jr. being the latest addition.
David, an African-American steward's mate first-class, enlisted in the Coast Guard during World War II when the service was still racially segregated. It was during his time on the Coast Guard Cutter COMANCHE that David demonstrated uncommon valor, when an Army transport ship was attacked by a German U-boat off the coast of Greenland on Feb. 3, 1943.
The COMANCHE was dispatched to rescue the survivors of the Army transport. David was one of the few men who volunteered to take the plunge into the frigid waters to save those who had gone overboard. David saved many lives, including the ship's executive officer, Robert W. Anderson.
Several days after his daring feat, David contracted pneumonia and died, leaving behind a widow and a young son. For his heroism, he was posthumously awarded the Navy and Marine Corps Medal.
According to the official U.S. Coast Guard history on David:
Adam Artigliere, grandson of Anderson, described his thoughts of Charles David and his sacrifice: "If it were not for [Charles David], my grandfather would have been left by the Comanche in the confusion and would have surely died. My understanding is that there were only a few volunteers to go into the water to attempt to save the soldiers from the Dorchester. For someone in Mr. David's position to step up and volunteer to go into the water to save those men clearly shows what kind of a person Charles David was. What a selfless act. . .My family and the families of the dozens of men Mr. David helped to save that evening are forever indebted to him."