Subject: Passing of BMC Richard H. Patterson USCG Ret.
In reference to the inquiries received concerning Chief Patterson, I am submitting the following for dissemination as necessary.
On 5 April I received a call from Joan Patterson that he was being discharged from Gainsville VA Hospital with Hospice and not long to live. He was stricken with an incurable type of cancer labeled MDS. Fortunately I was close enough and able to be with him for a couple of days before he died.
Beneath his Bronze Star and Purple Heart exist one of the most humble and charitable man I ever knew. For the past 17 years he and his wife Joan provided Thanksgiving meals and Christmas meals to the poor. Additionally they provided Christmas gifts to all the children in the surrounding area.
Chief Pat was born on 6 Nov. 1931 in Berea, Ohio (just outside Cleveland), and was raised by his mother in Miami FL. Besides Viet Nam he served at several units in Maryland, Virginia, Georgia and Florida. He is survived by his wife Joan, 2 daughters, 2 sons, several grandchildren and great grandchildren.
His wishes were to be cremated and scattered at sea. Joan and I discussed this and agreed that the Chatham Bar off Cape Cod would be appropriate. BMCS Dave Jonason (OINC Sta. Chatham) and I have provided for and scheduled a memorial service on Cape Cod as follows:Wed. 16 June 2010 @ 1030, location CG - Viet Nam - Iraq Memorial at 44 Smith Street, West Harwich, MA and at 1200 USCG Sta. Chatham for a short service, transportation and scattering of cremains followed by a collation.
On behalf of the Patterson Family contrabutions or donations directly to Joan Patterson @ PO Box 768 Old Town, FL 32680 would be most helpful in assisting them and very much appreciated.
Had it not been for the heroic and masterful actions by Chief Patterson on 11 Aug. 1966 I would more than likely have not been here today along with the rest of the crew.
As I left him , I thanked him for the many additional years he gave us. "God has seen what you did for us, have no fear, it is time for your reward."
BMCM Mark D. "Mac" McKenney USCG Ret.
The below is from the Coast Guard Combat Veteran's Association website:
We have been notified of the death of BMC Richard Patterson, USCG (ret). He died on April 12, 2010.
Many will recall Chief Patterson's heroism on August 11, 1966, when the USCGC Point Welcome came under attack by U. S. Air Force aircraft near the Demilitarized Zone in South Vietnam.
Patterson served on board the U. S. Coast Guard Cutter Point Welcome (WPB 82329) when the cutter came under attack by friendly aircraft about 3 a. m., on August 11, 1966 just south of the Demilitarized Zone (DMZ) in South Vietnam.
The first attack caused a blazing gasoline fire on the fantail of the cutter that threatened to engulf the entire after section of the vessel. Chief Patterson, displaying the finest qualities of bravery and leadership, took charge of the situation and using a fire hose, forced the flaming liquid over the side, thus extinguishing the fire. Even as he was accomplishing this task, he saw the second aircraft attack rip through the pilot house killing the cutter's commanding officer, Ltjg David C. Brostrom, and seriously wounding the executive officer, Ltjg Ross Bell, and the helmsman.
Unhesitatingly, and with complete disregard for his personal safety, Chief Patterson climbed to the bridge and took command. He ordered the crew to carry the wounded to the comparative safety of the below decks area. Alone on the bridge, he then maneuvered the cutter at high speed without helm control, that had been put out of commission by gunfire, to avoid subsequent attacks.
When it became apparent that he could not successfully evade the attacking aircraft, he ran the cutter close to a friendly base and directed the crew to abandon ship. However, this base thought Point Welcome was an enemy vessel and began firing at her too. Under his composed leadership, the wounded were wrapped in life jackets and paired with the able bodied before going over the side. Chief Patterson kept his crew calm and organized while they were in the water and until they were picked up by rescue craft. The Navy Department awarded him the Bronze Star Medal with the combat "V" device for his actions.
This past Monday BMC Richard "Pat" Patterson passed away. Thanks to Mac McKenney for the below info. I've also attached the write up by MCPO Bill Wells (ret) off the Coast Guard Combat Veteran's Association website at http://www.coastguardcombatvets.com/
From: BMCM Mark D. "Mac" McKenney USCG Ret.
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