TO WALTER JOSEPH GORSKI HOSPITAL CORPSMAN SECOND CLASS UNITED STATES
COAST GUARD FOR PROFESSIONAL ACHIEVEMENT AND SUPERIOR PERFORMANCE
OF DUTY ON 20 OCTOBER 1977 GIVEN THIS 17TH DAY OF MAY 1978 CITATION
TO ACCOMPANY THE AWARD OF THE COAST GUARD ACHIEVEMENT MEDAL
Petty Officer GORSKI is cited for professional achievement in the superior of duty on the night of 20 October 1977, while serving as Hospital Corpsman on board HH3F 1491 stationed at Coast Guard Air Station, New Orleans, Louisiana and participating in the rescue efforts of twenty-five persons on board aircraft N55VN, a Convair C131, which crashed in a densely wooded area 12 mile southwest of McComb, Mississippi. Upon notification of the crash by the duty officer, Petty Officer GORSKI immediately gathered what medical supplies he felt would be needed at the crash site. Arriving on scene, which had been located approximately one hour earlier by HH3F CGNR 1496, Petty Officer GORSKI disembarked HH3F CGNR 1491 in a field several hundred yards from the crash site. Guided through a swamp and a densely wooded area by a State Policeman, Petty Officer GORSKI arrived at the scene of the crash to find numerous people milling about in a confused state. He immediately began to querry bystanders where he might find the injured, but received little cooperation. Searching in the darkness, Petty Officer Gorski eventually came across a seriously injured victim approximately thirty feet from the wreckage. Though there were several persons with the victim, none had rendered any first aid. Petty Officer GORSKI immediately took control. He administered extensive first aid, performed a diagnostic examination and requested a litter. Petty Officer GORSKI then commandingly appointed several bystanders to be litter bearers. He carefully instructed the people carrying the litter in the proper proceedure
for transferring the injured victim to and from a litter and advised them what to tell the ambulance attendants concerning the victims condition. In a similar manner, Petty Officer GORSKI located and rendered first aid to four other victims whose conditions he evaluated as either serious or critical. In all cases he had to appoint bystanders litter bearers.
Petty Officer GORSKI's skill, knowledge, leadership, and immediate actions upon
arriving at the crash site, though hampered by numerous bystanders, densely wooded terrain, and darkness, resulted in the speedy litter bearers additionally reduced the possibility of further injuries to the victims. Petty Officers GORSKI's initiative, aggressiveness and devotion to duty are mostly heartily commended and are in
keeping the highest traditions of the United States Coast Guard.
VIDEO: A WJXT Documentary on the plane crash.
Tom Wills traveled to Mississippi to report on the plane crash that killed three band members of Lynyrd Skynyrd, an assistant road manager, two pilots and injured several others. Video from YouTube.
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