Remembering The Brothers, Petty Officer Taken By Lake Superior In 1967

DULUTH, Minn. – April 30th marked 56 years since three teenage brothers were swept away from the Duluth Ship Canal during an intense storm and massive waves.

A U.S. Coast Guard officer also lost his life trying to rescue the boys.

On Sunday, a special ceremony was held by the Coast Guard near a plaque along the Canal dedicated to that heroic guardsman, Edgar Culbertson.

Culbertson and two other petty officers connected themselves with rope on April 30, 1967, trying to rescue the last two Halverson boys who would be taken away by Lake Superior’s waves before the crew members could reach them.

Those same waves would also take Culbertson’s life as he and his crew members were returning from the rescue effort.

“Despite the strenuous efforts of his teammates, petty officer Culbertson perished in this gallant rescue attempt. His outstanding courage, intrepidly, initiative, and unselfish actions were keeping with the highest traditions of the United States Coast Guard,” said Master Chief Justin Olson.

The ceremony was also to honor the life of Capt. Tom Mackay who knew Culbertson and was instrumental in getting the plaque installed in Culbertson’s name.

“My great uncle Capt. Tom Mackay would have been so proud to see the people here today in order to help honor the tradition and keep it alive. Year round, we would come down and we would help clean the plaque and he would always tell us when he passed away, he would want my brother Wyatt and I to keep the tradition going and keep talking about the plaque,” said Olivia West, niece of Mackay.

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