Gustav Franke Alm
Merchant Marine. American
Roster information listed for Gustav Franke Alm
|Ship||Type||Rank / role||Attacked on||Boat|
|Angelina||Steam merchant||Carpenter||18 Oct 1942||U-618|
of Bronx NY
Merchant Marine Distinguished Service Medal Award Citation:
His ship was traveling in a convoy which, due to extremely heavy seas and winds of gale force, had become scattered. Near midnight a torpedo struck and the ship sank rapidly. Alm, with about forty of his shipmates, managed to clear the ship in a lifeboat, but the seas were too great for the heavily-laden boat which swamped and capsized. A number of the men who were thrown into the icy waters managed to cling to the overturned hull, but during the night the seas washed the exhausted men off, one by one, until only he and four others remained. The seas continued to build up, and first one and then another of Alm's four companions was washed off, but, by feats of courage and strength, he hauled them back onto the upturned boat. At dawn a rescue corvette appeared and, with great difficulty, was maneuvered alongside. Lines were thrown to the overturned boat and the carpenter secured them around the shoulders of each man in succession until all were hauled to the deck of the rescue ship. Another line was thrown to Alm, but his efforts in rescuing the others seemed to have exhausted his strength and he fell into the sea between the lifeboat and the corvette. Although crushed several times against the side of the corvette by the heaving lifeboat, he managed, by supreme effort, to secure a line around himself and was hauled unconscious to the ship's deck.
His magnificent courage and disregard of his own safety in saving the lives of his shipmates constitute a degree of heroism which will be an enduring inspiration to seamen of the United States Merchant Marine everywhere.
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