Posted to Facebook on Wednesday, 2/29/12, at 5:22pm PST:"Today our nation's Coast Guard mourns the loss of 4 of it's members in a tragic accident. Sadly, these men will not make the headlines the way others such as Michael Jackson, Whitney Houston, and most recently Davy Jones have. Although these 4 men surely haven't "touched" as many lives as these celebrities did, the lives they did impact were greatly changed forever. That is where their legacy lies. These men did not chose to be among the rich and famous, but rather, chose the life of a servant. They spent many a day, and more than a few nights, training to be that miracle sent from God above to help a fellow person in need...it makes me proud to say that I share the same values and qualities of these men. May the 6535, and her final crew, rest in peace."
This was posted by a friend of mine regarding a Coast Guard MH-65 Dolphin helicopter that went down during a training mission Tuesday night. I have read a lot of posts regarding these four men that lost their lives but no more beautiful words were written than these. I have even seen many people reposting this exact post and quoting Shorty (this is the nickname that he goes by and I will not post his actual name to protect his privacy).
I have spent the last few days trying to figure out what exactly I was going to say in this post and I am not entirely sure what is going to pour out of my fingers but I guess we'll find out!
A lot of people have no problem denying that the Coast Guard is in fact military. What is the purpose of the military? To serve and protect this country (and her people) from all enemies, foreign and domestic. Take the first four words that I wrote...TO SERVE AND PROTECT...that is what the Coast Guard is here for. While we do have Coasties overseas, the vast majority is here protecting our coasts! Having served over 5 years in the Coast Guard and over 4 of those years in aviation, I may not have been flying and rescuing people but I saw the impact that it had on my fellow shipmates and the stories they told about the lives they saved.
Tuesday night, the 6535 was on a training mission. I do not know any of the details regarding the crash itself and until a full investigation has been completed I believe that there will be no fully accurate news report about what happened that night. Training to keep themselves proficient for when an emergency does occur and the SAR (search and rescue) alarm goes off, they will know what they are supposed to do to save your loved ones in distress!
The men that lost their lives that fateful night are: LCDR Dale Taylor, LTJG Thomas Cameron, ASTC Fernando Jorge, and AET3 Andrew Knight.
All 4 of these brave souls have been found and may they rest in peace. My heart goes out to the friends and families of these men. I know that I did not say everything that I wanted to but I have shed a few tears about this. It is not the first time something this terrible has happened but I hope that it will be the last. I am lucky enough to have not lost anyone that I have known and now consider family. Being in the Coast Guard and especially CG Aviation, you become more than just friends but you do become a family. When you need help moving, they are there (as long as you're providing the beer and pizza afterwards...lol). When you had a horrible day and need a drink after work, they are there. When you get a bug up your ass and want to throw a party that night, they are there...to help you make the calls to get people out!
Until Next Time!