Commander Thomas Nelson, Lieutenant Commander Andrew Wischmeier, Aviation Survival Technician First Class David Skimin and Aviation Maintenance Technician Second Class Joshua Nichols lost their lives when their helicopter crashed about five miles south of Honolulu, Hawaii. The incident occurred during small boat hoist training operations with a Station Honolulu’s 47-foot motor life boat in the early evening hours of September 4, 2008.
“On the night of September 4th, the crew of Coast Guard 6505 was on a routine training flight,” Capt. Brad Bean, the commanding officer of the 300-member air station at the time of the incident, told the audience during the memorial service last year. “There was nothing unusually risky about this flight, but last Thursday night, something heartbreaking happened that resulted in the loss of our friends.”
In an All Hands Message from Admiral Thad Allen, Coast Guard Commandant, he said, “Coast Guard men and women go into harm’s way to train and conduct operations each day. In difficult times, we must re-dedicate ourselves to performing operations safely and effectively. “
An Aircrew Memorial built at Air Station Barbers Point will be dedicated today to honor the fallen Guardians and preserve their legacy. The CG6505 crew will be honored along with another air crew from Air Station Barbers Point who lost their lives in the line of duty on January 1, 1982. The crew of Coast Guard HH-52 Sikorsky helicopter 1420, Lieutenant Commander Horton Johnson, Lieutenant Colleen Cain and Aviation Machinist Mate Second Class David Thompson, were on a rescue mission when tragedy struck.
To raise the approximately $50,000 needed to fund the memorial, the Coast Guard Aviation Association managed a fundraiser. To help with cause, groups were able to purchase and donate personalized bricks that were used to construct a pathway to the memorial.