A sad day for the USCG.

As many of you may already be aware, a CG HH-65 (helo) crashed last night off the coast of Honolulu, Hawaii. The crew was participating in a routine training exercise.

According to the Honolulu Advertiser, “The crash occurred while the crew of the HH-65 was performing small boat hoists with a 47-foot motor lifeboat from Station Honolulu. This routine exercise prepares aircrews — and boat crews — for hoisting injured persons from a boat to the aircraft” (Sep. 5, 2008).

My friend, a Coast Guard officer who happens to be married to a Coast Guard pilot, wrote the following today at Waiting for Ships. She summarized the news, her thoughts and the collective sadness of the Coast Guard family at large. I have no words to add anything more, but thought I would share and echo her final sentiments about holding your loved ones closer tonight.

The following was written by and posted by the Flying Fish at Waiting for Ships, 9/5/08:

As of right now, three Coasties have lost their lives, and a fourth is still missing. All the members of the crew have wives and families, and have left them, as well as their wider CG family behind. The hubs and I are “lucky” enough to not know any of those involved personally, but that doesn’t make it hurt less.

I am choking back tears as I type – our service is so small that we feel every loss. Our aviation community is even smaller, and, of course, closer to us, and I’d be lying if my first thought wasn’t of the hubs. I like to forget that, every time he flies, this possibility exists. I like to think that he’s always safe. But, the reality is that every Coastie takes a risk every time they fly or get underway on a boat or cutter. It’s not inherently safe, and we can only do our best to keep it safer.

I think I’ll stop there, before I make it too real for everyone else, as well. But, please, keep the familes of LCDR Andrew Wischmeier, AST1 David Skimin, and AMT2Joshua Nichols in your thoughts and prayers. At the same time, please keep the family of the missing pilot in your thoughts. Prayer that he may be found sooner than later. Also, keep all of Air Station Barbers Point in your prayers. They’re still out there right now, flying and searching for their own lost crewmember. And, finally, remember the crew of the 47′ MLB – they watched it happen since they were there conducting training with the helo. I can’t imagine what images are going through their minds right now.

Hug your loved ones a little tighter tonight.

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2 Responses

  1. How tragic. Just another reminder that even “routine” training comes with risks. The Coasties who lost their lives and their families will be in my thoughts and prayers. And I will say a special prayer that the missing pilot is found, wet but healthy.

  2. My thoughts and prayers are with all those involved. This is such sad and tragic news. I pray the missing pilot is found. Thanks for sharing, I hadn’t seen the news today.

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