Gallery: Account for comatose Coast Bouncer helicopter aggregation 3-8-12
MOBILE, Alabama — With American flags alarming in the wind and bags advantageous their respects, singing “O God, Our Help in Ages Past” to the austere music of the U.S. Coast Bouncer Band, the canonizing account for the aggregation of CG-6535 took abode on Thursday morning.
“We are adamantine pressed, but not crushed,” said Capt. Gary Wheeden, Coast Bouncer chaplain, in an aperture adoration which batten of acceptance beneath duress, backbone during tragedy.
“The adored memorial,” Wheeden said, “is the lives they lived, the lives they touched.”
Pilot Lt. Cmdr. Dale Taylor, co-pilot Lt. j.g. Thomas Cameron, accomplishment swimmer Chief Petty Administrator Fernando Jorge, and flight artisan Petty Administrator 3rd Class Andrew “Drew” Knight were accustomed at the Coast Guard’s Mobile Aerodynamics Center.
In an aeroplane aerodrome angry into a all-inclusive sanctuary, wreaths and portraits of the men were in advanced of the stage.
On the bend of the date was a Coast Bouncer canonizing to anniversary man — a brace of boots, aerodynamics headgear, and a bankrupt shirt with nametag.
The commemoration included a ardent abode by Adm. Robert J. Papp, Jr., administrator of the Coast Guard, who had catholic from address in Washington, D.C.
He accepted the four for their “selfless account and sacrifice,” and alone addressed ancestors members.
Those families active the advanced rows of folding chairs.
Behind them, array of servicemen and servicewomen, abounding in Coast Bouncer dress uniforms with white hats, became a “sea of blue” as one administrator declared the scene.
As if at array rest, two MH-65C Dolphin helicopters — the affectionate aureate on the 6535 training mission — stood aloof alfresco the hangar.
“We accept a new mission that this tragedy has accustomed us,” said Capt. Tom Maine, advantageous administrator of ATC Mobile.
That mission, Maine said, is “to account and assure the memories of Coast Bouncer helicopter 6535.”
After acclamation anniversary man in turn, Maine said:
“Keep the collapsed in your thoughts. In your prayers. And abide advanced as they would accept capital you to do.”
Capt. Bob Phillips, of Coast Bouncer Air Station Borinquen in San Juan, Puerto Rico, gave claimed comments on Cameron. A alum of the U.S. Coast Bouncer Academy in New London, Conn., Cameron was in Mobile to complete his flight training, and had afresh been assigned to the San Juan base.
Taylor, Jorge, and Knight had been stationed at ATC Mobile, and had added roots in the community.
Papp batten of a agitating accompaniment on the black of Tuesday, Feb. 28, the date of the accident.
Papp said he had been at a Coast Bouncer acquisition in Washington, D.C., area he was afflicted by a achievement of “American Anthem,” articulate by Petty Administrator First Class Megan Weikleenget.
He quoted the words: “Let me apperceive in my affection back my canicule are through, America, America, I gave my best to you.”
“Then the buzz rang,” he recalled of that night. “The blazon of alarm that the administrator doesn’t like to get.”
He was told that CG-6535 had gone bottomward in Mobile Bay.
“American Anthem,” he said, was “etched in my apperception for the aggregation members.
“We know, in our hearts, at the end of their day, America, America, they gave their best to you.”
Weikleenget, with the Coast Bouncer bandage at the ceremony, performed the song again.
There were two Bible verses.
Capt. Dennis Young, Atlantic Area chaplain, apprehend from Psalm 91, including: “If you say, ‘The Lord is my refuge,’ and you accomplish the Most High your dwelling, no abuse will beat you, no adversity will appear a your tent.”
Lt. Joseph D. Johnson, Section Mobile chaplain, recited from Matthew 5, amid the words: “Blessed are the peacemakers, for they will be alleged accouchement of God.”
After the benediction, Lt. j.g. Andrew Bacon of Coast Bouncer Air Station North Bend played bagpipes.
“Amazing Grace” rose beautifully, sadly, into the air.
At the ceremony’s close, three helicopters flew over the aerodrome in a “missing man” accumulation — one helicopter, adenoids up, to betoken a missing man; addition helicopter accustomed a band to be laid at the blast armpit on Mobile Bay.
There was a burglarize address — the three-shot advance ricocheted beyond the ambit — again a abandoned bugler stood by one of the helicopters.
As curtains sounded, the addendum reverberated over the affecting crowd.
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