Jason J. Dorval

The President of the United States takes pleasure in presenting the Distinguished Flying Cross to Lieutenant Jason J. Dorval for extraordinary achievement in aerial flight from 29 August to 6 September 2005 while serving as an HH-60J Aircraft Commander during Hurricane Katrina rescue operations. After deploying from Coast Guard Air Station Cape Cod to Coast Guard Aviation Training Center Mobile, Lieutenant Dorval flew through tropical storm force winds in the wake of Hurricane Katrina to spearhead the Coast Guard’s response. While conducting a nighttime search of the devastated Mississippi Gulf Coast on the evening of 29 August, Lieutenant Dorval located an elderly quadriplegic man and two of his family members stranded by raging floodwaters. Battling strong turbulence, he safely hoisted the three survivors through the dark and tangled wreckage of downed power lines, trees, and storm debris, and transported them back to Mobile for medical care. Returning to the scene amid the deepening catastrophe, Lieutenant Dorval found and hoisted a heart attack victim from the rubble of a destroyed casino and delivered him to a nearby hospital for care. After levees in New Orleans had broken and flooded 80% of the city leaving thousands of residents stranded, Lieutenant Dorval, and his crew proceeded to New Orleans and courageously performed rescue missions in an unfamiliar, unit, and dangerous area of operations. Lieutenant Dorval improvised rescue procedures on the spot, skillfully deploying his Rescue Swimmers and hoisting immobile victims through windows, doors, and makeshift access holes chopped in the roofs of flooded house. Amazingly, during the night of 1 September Lieutenant Dorval and his crew successfully evacuated the entire 40 patient population of a flooded New Orleans hospital. Flying nearly 50 hours over the course of seven days, more than half of which were at night over the blacked-out landscape, Lieutenant Dorval’s actions, aeronautical skill and valor were instrumental in the rescue of 332 storm victims. His courage, judgment, and devotion to duty are most heartily commended and are in keeping with the highest traditions of the United States Coast Guard.