George W. Raley, a tugboat crewman with Mobile Bay Towing, has received the Silver Lifesaving Medal from the U.S. Coast Guard.
Mr. Raley was honored for jumping into the frigid Mobile (Ala.) River to rescue a deckhand from another tug Dec. 24, 1989.Mr. Raley was aboard the Mobile Power as it and other tugs were undocking the 946-foot Regulus when Johnny Johnston was swept overboard by the Regulus' propeller wash.
Struggling in the 40-degree water, Mr. Johnston was unable to hold on to a life ring Mr. Raley threw to him. Mr. Raley grabbed a rope, leaped into the river and brought Mr. Johnston within reach of other crewmembers on the Mobile Power, which was angling alongside the two men.
"I was going down," Mr. Johnston said. "My eyes were already under water. If it hadn't been for George, I wouldn't be here today."
Also commended by the Coast Guard were Capt. Sydney E. "Skipper" Dorgan for his quick and skillful manuevering of the Mobile Power and engineer Alan Tompkins for assisting Mr. Raley in the rescue.