Lt. John Briggs, an MH-65D helicopter pilot at Coast Guard Aviation Training Center Mobile, is presented the Distinguished Flying Cross medal by Rear Adm. John Nadeau, commander, Eighth Coast Guard District, at ATC Mobile, Alabama, December 20, 2019 (U.S. Coast Guard/Petty Officer 3rd Class John Michelli)

Editor's Note: This article by Gina Harkins originally appeared on Military.com, a leading source of news for the military and veteran community.

Four Coast Guard members who faced extraordinary conditions while saving an infant, a pregnant woman and dozens more during a powerful 2017 storm have been awarded prestigious medals for their heroism.

Petty Officer 3rd Class Tyler Gantt, Lt. John Briggs, Cmdr. Scott Sanborn and Petty Officer 1st Class James Yockey braved high winds, torrential rains, power lines and other dangers to save up to 120 people each during Hurricane Harvey.

Gantt, Briggs and Sanborn were each presented with the Distinguished Flying Cross last week. Yockey received the Air Medal for his actions.

The awards were presented by Rear Adm. John Nadeau, commander of the Eighth Coast Guard District. The district is headquartered in New Orleans and is responsible for missions along the Gulf of Mexico's U.S. coastline, where Hurricane Harvey dumped as much as 60 inches of rain -- the most of any recorded weather event in the country.

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Lt. John Briggs, an MH-65D helicopter pilot at Coast Guard Aviation Training Center Mobile, is presented the Distinguished Flying Cross medal by Rear Adm. John Nadeau, commander, Eighth Coast Guard District, at ATC Mobile, Alabama, December 20, 2019 (U.S. Coast Guard/Petty Officer 3rd Class John Michelli)

A Mobile, Alabama-based U.S. Coast Guard helicopter pilot was awarded one of the country's highest military honors during a ceremony in New Orleans Friday.

Lieutenant John Briggs, known as JJ to his friends and family, received the Distinguished Flying Cross for acts of heroism after Cat. 4 Hurricane Harvey battered the Louisiana and Texas Gulf Coast regions in late August 2017.

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Coast Guard Lt. Ronaqua Russell flies an Air Station Corpus Christi HC-144 in support of Hurricane Maria response efforts in October 2018. (U.S. Coast Guard/Lt.Cmdr. Ryan P Kelley)

Editor's Note: This article by Hope Hodge Seck originally appeared onMilitary.com, a leading source of news for the military and veteran community.

When Hurricane Harvey slammed into southeast Texas with Category 4 intensity in late August 2017, causing devastating flooding and damage, many in the Houston metropolitan area struggled to find a way out of town. But with airports closed and flights grounded, Coast Guard Lt. Ronaqua Russell and her counterparts out of Coast Guard Sector/Air Station Corpus Christi were on the way in.

Russell, 28, was one of eight Coast Guard pilots to be awarded the prestigious Coast Guard Air Medal for operations in the wake of the deadly hurricane. And the award, presented Feb. 21 in Tuskegee, Alabama, made history: she is the first African-American woman in the service to ever receive the Air Medal. But despite what she calls the "surreal experience" of receiving the award, her focus is still on the mission ahead and her love of the job.

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Two days ago, as Puerto Rico’s post-hurricane crisis fought for news headlines with sports protests and Beltway drama, a titter went through veterans’ communities online: Who were those big, aw-shucks-looking ex-military operators giving heart-rending updates on the ground situation in Puerto Rico?

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(U.S. Air Force photo by Christopher Parr)

The historic rainfall and devastating floods of Hurricane Harvey are still wreaking havoc on residents of Texas, but not in the way you’d expect. Residual standing water has turned communities across the Gulf Coast into swampy cesspools of liquid waste, perfect for breeding mosquitoes.

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Photo via DoD

The Department of Defense vastly overstated the number of active-duty military personnel deployed to Texas and Louisiana in response to the catastrophic rain and flooding of Hurricane Harvey, the Pentagon told CNN in a statement on Sept. 1, with just a quarter of initial estimates actually sent to the Gulf Coast as part of relief efforts.

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