Coast Guard presents Purple Heart to World War I sailors

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The following is text of a news release from the U.S. Coast Guard:

(SAN PEDRO, Calif.) — Coast Guard Sector Los Angeles-Long Beach personnel posthumously presented a Purple Heart to the families of Joseph Lieb and Benjamin Nelson in San Pedro on Friday.

The families received the awards in recognition of Lieb and Nelson who received fatal wounds as a consequence of the sinking of the Coast Guard cutter Tampa on Sept. 26, 1918.

"While the Coast Guard and our missions have evolved over the past century, we remain inspired by the heroes who came before us like Seaman Lieb and Acting Water Tender Nelson," said Capt. Monica Rochester, the Sector Los Angeles-Long Beach commander. "The cutter Tampa and her crew holds a special place in the Coast Guard's heritage."

On Sept. 26, 1918, Tampa was escorting a convoy to Wales via the Bristol Channel. During the escort, Tampa's crew became aware of a potential enemy submarine. The cutter was positioned in front of the convoy, where at approximately 8:45 p.m., it was struck by an enemy torpedo. Lieb and Nelson, along with all 130 people aboard, lost their lives.

By Professional Mariner Staff