Rear Adm. Todd Sokalzuk, the Coast Guard's 11th District commander, right, presents Lt. Jacob Dorsey with a Coast Guard Air Medal during a ceremony at Coast Guard Air Station Humboldt Bay in McKinleyville, California, March 8, 2018. The ceremony honored Dorsey and three other aircrew who rescued a 16-year-old boy stranded on a cliff near Crescent City Oct. 14, 2017. (Coast Guard photo by Chief Petty Officer Brandyn Hill)
Cazenovia native Jake Dorsey has been recognized, along with his Coast Guard helicopter crew members, for exemplary service after rescuing a 16-year-old boy stranded on a cliff near Crescent City, Calif., last October.
Dorsey, a 2005 Cazenovia High School graduate and currently a lieutenant in the Coast Guard, received the Coast Guard Air Medal from Rear Admiral Todd Sokalzuk, the Coast Guard 11th District commander, during a ceremony on March 8.
Along with Dorsey, who is a pilot, his crewmates Petty Officer 1st Class Nicholas Gardner and Petty Officer 2nd Class Jeff Bothman also received medals, in addition to a Coast Guard Commendation Medal to Lt. Edwin Forteza.
According to a release from the Coast Guard, the aircrew, based in Humboldt Bay, Calif., was dispatched the evening of Oct. 14 after receiving a report of a 16-year-old hiker who fell from the Coastal Trail on Highway 101 and was stranded on a cliff face 300 feet above the ocean, with another 500 feet of cliff above. The boy had reportedly been hiking along the trail when he fell over the edge and caught himself 300 feet above the ocean on a one-foot-wide ledge.
The helicopter was brought to a hover approximately 240 feet above the stranded hiker and used all 245 feet of the hoist cable to rescue him.
Gardner deployed from the helicopter and reached the hiker with only five feet of line remaining on the helicopter’s hoist cable. Gardner and the hiker were hoisted into the helicopter, and the rescued boy was taken to Del Norte County Airport and transferred to awaiting emergency medical services personnel without injury.
While the Coast Guard regularly conducts cliff-rescue training, the physical characteristics and height of the cliff face paired with the on-scene conditions of 20-knot winds and low visibility contributed to the complexity of the rescue, according to the Coast Guard.
Dorsey graduated from the Coast Guard Academy in 2010 and then went on to helicopter training. He is stationed in Humbolt Bay, northern California, where he has been for nearly two years.
“Obviously, we’re very proud of him,” said Jake’s mother Janet Dorsey, who said she and her husband Chuck flew out to California to attend the ceremony. “It’s a cool thing he does.”
Jason Emerson is editor of the Cazenovia Republican and Eagle Bulletin newspapers.