In part two, we learn the circumstances around the death of our shipmate Boatswain’s Mate Chief Elias Welch 50 years ago in the Bering Sea. Mishaps are, by their very definition, unplanned and it is easy to sit in safety and harshly judge the actions and motivations of people who didn’t have the luxury of hindsight, especially when those actions took place 50 years ago in a different organizational culture. Welch’s death in the line of duty reminds us of the dangers of hubris, the importance of personal protective equipment, and that the Coast Guard’s modern doctrine of Operational Risk Management has evolved through decades of tragic incidents and sacrifice.
Tag: Elias Welch
Fifty years ago this March, Boatswain’s Mate Chief Elias Welch died off of Akutan Island, Alaska, when his cutter’s boat capsized during an attempt to assist a grounded fishing vessel. The tragic story of his death, unknown except to his shipmates, deserves to be remembered, both as a tribute to his service and as a study in operational risk management and leadership.