Duluth, MN (CBS 3)
“We were notified on the evening of April 30, 1967 that three teenage boys were playing along the break-wall and there was a slim possibility that two of them may have made it out to the lighthouse itself.” said Coast Guard veteran Ron Prei back in 2009.
Minutes later, Ron Prei, Richard Callahan and Edgar Culbertson from Coast Guard Station Duluth began a rescue attempt.
“We never did find the boys so they must have been washed over the side and on the return trip, Ed Culbertson was washed over, too, and died in the attempt to save the boys.” said Prei.
Culbertson’s body was recovered but the three boys from the Halvorson Family have never been found. For over a decade now, Coast Guard Reserve Chief Kevin Rofidal has been working to keep Ed Culbertson’s name alive. Nearly ten years ago, he helped organize this tribute to the 1967 tragedy. After that, he helped get Culbertson’s name added to the National Law Enforcement Officers Memorial in Washington. Now, his efforts will result in a new Coast Guard cutter named the Edgar Culbertson.
“I submitted the name of Edgar Culbertson to the committee and put together a packet for the Coast Guard historian’s office.” said Chief Rofidal.
Sentinel Class fast response cutters like the Culbertson will all be named after enlisted Coast Guard heroes. She’s being built right now in Louisiana.
“The hull has been started and it’s about 60 percent complete at Bollinger Shipyards in Louisiana and they’re making her as fast as they can make her.” said Rofidal.
WPC 1137 Edgar Culbertson should be complete in 2020. Here in Duluth, there’s a chapel named in honor of the missing Halvorson boys at the Copper Top Church and Ed Culbertson has a plaque in Canal Park. Chief Rofidal feels this new vessel will keep the memories of all lost alive nearly 52 years after the tragedy of 1967.
“We as a society and a country say we’ll never forget but it’s really important to follow through on that and it’s important to put some teeth behind that and really never forget.” said the Chief.
Dave Anderson, reporting