Saved By A Beer

By Mike Higgins

Originally Published in "We've Been There" ©Esther Stormer - 1992 - Republished by Permission.


On the during the 1950's the CGC NEMESIS was moored alongside the dock next to the Coast Guard Air Station, St. Petersburg, Florida, our home port. Like most other Coast Guard cutters we were always doing maintenance work in port. As engineers we were always working on various machinery and equipment.

The Air Station provided us dockside storage in one of it's many station buildings for the use of all ship's divisions.

There was a Second Class Engineman in our Division who was nicknamed, "Wild Bill." Bill, who was a real "rounder" had been out the night before and was nursing a hangover. Whenever he got a chance, he would manage to get to the engineer's storeroom on the dock and drink one of the beers he had stashed away just for such an emergency

It was on one of his numerous trips to the storeroom he heard a groaning noiuse coming from the base Electrical Shop which was next to our storeroom but with a wall in between. "Wild Bill" ran outside and around to the Electric Shop where he saw a Lieutenant Commander lying on the floor with two 100 volt wires in his hands. While yelling for help, Bill removed the wires with the help of a broomstick and the administered first aid which saved the life of the Lieutenant Commander (who wasn't otherwise identified in this tale.)

While the Captain was in the process of recommending a Silver Lifesaving's Medal for "Wild Bill" it came to light why Bill was in the storeroom at the time. Bill admitted it.

So the Captain gave "Wild Bill" a mast instead of a medal.

All that can be said about this tale of elation and woe is, A beer saved an officer's life." Or better yet, this tale could be called a study in Crime and Punishment.


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