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Rank: Petty Officer First Class
Panel: 38-W: 27
Department: U.S. Coast Guard
End of Watch: April 30, 1967
Cause: Drowning
Age: 31
Years of Service: 14

Description: Petty Officer Culbertson died while assisting the Duluth (MN) Police Department in a joint mission to rescue three boys stuck on a pier during a severe thunderstorm. Petty Officer Culbertson and two other Coast Guardsmen braved waves exceeding 15 feet by tethering themselves to the pier and searching for the missing boys. Petty Officer Culbertson's search proved unfruitful, and as he was leaving the pier a wave swept him into the water. The tether broke the hand of one rescuer and nearly pulled two others into the water, but was severed in time to save the rescuers. Petty Officer Culbertson died on the night of the rescue and was awarded the Coast Guard Medal posthumously in honor of his valor and sacrifice. Petty Officer Culbertson was a federal law enforcement officer with full arrest powers who received law enforcement training at the Coast Guard Boarding Officer School.