William Ray “Billy” Flores

Fallen Hero’s Hometown and State: Benbrook, TX

Branch of Service: U.S. Coast Guard

Rank: Seaman Apprentice

Seaman Apprentice William Flores was born in Carlsbad, NM and raised in Benbrook, TX. With his parent’s permission, he left high school early in order to serve his country in the United States Coast Guard.

While serving aboard the U.S.C.G.C. Blackthorn, Flores stayed aboard as it was sinking following a collision with a tanker, and helped save twenty-three of his crewmates, at the cost of his own life. Flores threw life jackets to seamen struggling in the water.

Billy was selfless, brave, and honorable. “It was just in his nature to help others,” remembers his brother Richard. “That was just how he was. We are very proud of him.” Flores was posthumously awarded the Coast Guard Medal, and in 2011 the Coast Guard selected Flores as the namesake of the third of its Sentinel class cutters.

Age: 18

Date of Death: January 28, 1980

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