Brave Coast Guard Member Honored 43 Years Later

By KBJR News 1

August 6, 2010 Updated Mar 15, 2010 at 1:19 AM CDT

The 43rd anniversary of the tragic loss of three brothers and a Coast Guardsman who tried to save them is coming up in April.

In May, that fallen hero will receive national recognition thanks to the efforts of one of today's Coasties.
Dave Anderson has the story.

On April 30th 1967, a powerful storm lashed the Twin Ports.
Three teenage boys, Art, Eric and Nate Halvorson, were seen stranded near one of the lighthouses near the Aerial Lift Bridge.

Coast Guardsmen Ed Culbertson, Richard Callahan and Ron Prei tried to rescue them.

"We never did find the boys so they must have been washed over the side. On the return trip, Ed Culbertson washed over the side and died attempting to save the boys." said Ron Prei at the 2009 ceremony that honored him and his comrades of 1967.

Current Coast Guard Reservist Kevin Rofidal often visits the plaque near the Marine Museum that honors Ed Culbertson.

Last year, Rofidal helped plan a tribute to the lost boys and the three Coast Guard heroes.

This year, he has succeeded in getting Culbertson's name on the National Law Enforcement Memorial.

"So now his name will be inscribed in the stone wall in Washington D.C. on the national memorial." said ME1 Kevin Rofidal.

Rofidal is a police officer in civilian life and says Coast Guard personnel are considered law enforcers so Ed Culbertson's name belongs on the police memorial wall.

Culbertson's family supports it, too.

"They're overwhelmed by it but they're very honored that their father is going to be recognized." said Rofidal.

The honor took Petty Officer Rofidal much time and research to prove Culbertson was eligible for the memorial.

"It took a year for all the digging through records and required different data from the archives from the national archives around the country." said Rofidal.

For the Coastie slash cop, the work was worth it to pay tribute to a fellow guardian.

"He should be added and it's something that should be done and it's the right thing." said Rofidal.

Ed Culbertson's name will be added to the memorial in May during National Law Enforcement week.

Several top government officials have been invited to the ceremony.