The ultimate sacrifice

This week, Coast Guard Petty Officer Third Class Travis Obendorf died after he was injured while assisting a disabled fishing boat in Alaska’s Bering Sea near Amak Island.

I write often about the sacrifices fishermen make for their work and the fact that they put their lives on the line every day to bring food to our tables. Members of the Coast Guard put their lives on the line to bring fishermen home when no one else can.

Obendorf was serving on the Coast Guard cutter Waesche, which was helping to evacuate nonessential crew of the 166-foot catcher-processor Alaska Mist on Nov. 11 before the cutter towed the fishing boat to safety. Obendorf was injured during the evacuation and was air-lifted first to Anchorage and later transferred to Seattle, where he died after surgery and surrounded by his family.

“Petty Officer Obendorf’s selfless actions directly contributed to rescuing five mariners in distress. His willingness to assist others, even amidst the dangerous environment of the Bering Sea, truly embodies the Coast Guard’s core values,” said Waesche’s commanding officer, Capt. John McKinley. “Travis will be sadly missed.”

My thoughts are with Travis Obendorf’s family and friends as they navigate a difficult passage this Christmas and new year. Many thanks to the Coast Guard for making the ocean a safer place to work.

Photo: Coast Guard cutter Waesche crew evacuates nonessential crew members from the disabled catcher-processor Alaska Mist on the Bering Sea near Amak Island, Alaska, Nov. 11; U.S. Coast Guard

About the author

Jessica Hathaway

Jessica Hathaway is the editor in chief of National Fisherman.

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