The Petty Officer Victor Roulund Meritorious On-Scene Performance Award
The Victor Roulund Award recognizes quick-thinking individuals within U.S. Coast Guard Aviation, who have taken risks and improvised in extraordinary circumstances, with the intent to save a life or lives. The Victor Roulund Award is co-sponsored by Mr. Roy Vander Putten, and the Coast Guard Aviation Association (CGAA), and was originally established in 2015. It is awarded every two years, on the odd-numbered years.
This award is named in honor of AD2 Victor Roulund, USCG, who, on 24 December 1955, was part of the augmented crew of an HO4S (a variant of the Sikorsky H-19/S-55) helicopter, deployed to Marysville, in Northern California. PO2 Roulund’s crew faced daunting weather and rescue challenges in the vicinity of the Yuba River, where countless people were seriously stricken in sudden, extreme flooding conditions. Within a 12-hour span of operations, PO2 Roulund, and his three fellow crewmembers, rotated in and out of the helo, and in total, hoisted 138 people. In one situation, in the pre-dawn darkness, Roulund was lowered to the roof of a house trailer, that was floating down the Feather River. Then, his crew and helicopter departed scene to assist others in peril.
Alone, risking his personal safety, he solved the extraordinary challenges of: determining that a disabled, immobile person was, in fact, inside the sinking structure; finding a way into that trailer; locating that panicked person inside; carrying her through the rising water and darkness to the door; signaling with his wet, yet miraculously reliable, flashlight for his helo to return; then placing her into the rescue basket, all before the trailer sank, capsized, or collided with a large object, most likely seriously injuring or killing both of them.
There was one last hope for Mrs. Dingeman, and for all who loved her. Victor Roulund’s efforts to be her “one last hope” place him among the quick-thinking Coast Guard members – before him and after him – who improvised in the real world of high winds, cold seas, and chaos. In addition, he operated well outside of what was routinely regarded as normal “crew duties,” with the intent to save a life or lives.
Yet, the story of Victor Roulund’s deed was almost forgotten. Therefore, he is an appropriate person to draw attention and recognition to the deeds of other excellent on-scene performers – before they are forgotten.
Pre 2022 Criteria and Description
The Victor Roulund Rescue Swimmer
Meritorious Achievement Award
The Victor Roulund Rescue Swimmer Meritorious Achievement Award recognizes individuals who have made outstanding contributions to the U.S. Coast Guard Aviation Rescue Swimmer Program through sustained superior performance, significant initiative in technology or tactics, and unique or extraordinary accomplishments in other areas associated with the Program. This award is sponsored by the Coast Guard Aviation Association and established in 2015.
This award is named in honor of AD2 Victor Roulund, who was assigned to Air Station SanFrancisco, when in late December 1955, he was participating as a flight mechanic aboard CG1305, an HO4S helicopter. His crew faced daunting weather and rescue challenges in the vicinity of the Yuba River in northern California, where countless homes and people were seriously stricken in extreme flooding conditions throughout the region. AD2 Roulund voluntarily accepted a very risky rescue attempt, after being hoisted down to a trailer home which was floating down the river. Using hand tools and quick intuition, he broke into the home which was nearly fully submerged, and rescued a woman who was completely disabled, and later placed her into the rescue basket for a successful hoist. AD2 Roulund and his fellow aircrew rescued a total of 138 people during a grueling 12 hour period of nonstop action. All four aircrew were awarded the Distinguished Flying Cross. AD2 Roulund’s actions have since been considered the first example of typical mission challenges faced by present day Coast Guard Rescue Swimmers.