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Coast Guard members serving Great Lakes honoring shipmate lost 20 years ago on Lake Erie

CLEVELAND — Coast Guard members serving on the Great Lakes are honoring a shipmate lost 20 years ago during a Lake Erie rescue operation.

The remembrance ceremony today honors Petty Officer 3rd Class Michael O’Neill.

Relatives, former crew members and those serving with the Coast Guard’s 9th District based in Cleveland are taking part in the ceremony in his hometown of West Alexander, Pa.

He died Sept. 21, 1993, during a search-and-rescue mission 14 miles off Cleveland.

O’Neill had boarded a commercial tug that was taking on water when it slammed into the rescue boat and sank stern first. He was trapped inside.

He joined the Coast Guard in 1991 and had served previously in the Caribbean.

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