Written by Lt. Karl Alejandre
A special tradition of passing on “legacy” wings was continued on the 100th Anniversary of the winging of the first Coast Guard Aviator. During a winging ceremony on April 7, 2017, at Naval Air Station Corpus Christi, Texas, the wings once worn by the first Coast Guard Aviator were pinned onto the newest Coast Guard Aviator.
The first Coast Guard Aviator was Second Lt. Elmer Stone, who completed Naval Flight Training on April 10, 1917, and was appointed as Naval Aviator No. 38. The Coast Guard recognizes him as Coast Guard Aviator No. 1. Although Elmer Stone passed away in 1936, a relative passed his wings to Daniel Garret (No. 243), who then passed the wings to Harry N. Hutchins (No. 1197) in 1965. In 1979, the wings were passed to Frederick T. Darvill (No. 2109).
“Our student naval aviators have been part of Naval Flight School for 100 years,” said Capt. Tony Hahn, commander of Coast Guard Sector/Air Station Corpus Christi. “This incredible training is the foundation of the tremendous success and legacy of Coast Guard Aviation.”
At the winging ceremony, these hallowed wings, originally belonging to Coast Guard Aviator No. 1, were passed to Coast Guard Aviator No. 4691, Ens. Evan Swinghamer. He was chosen for this honor based on his outstanding performance in flight school and the fact that his winging date of April 7 closely coincides with Elmer Stone’s winging 100 years ago on April 10, 1917. Swinghamer excelled in Naval Flight Training and made the Commodore’s List with distinction – an honor earned by only the top five percent of student naval aviators.
Swinghamer is slated to report to Coast Guard Air Station Barbers Point, Hawaii, to fly the HC-130H Hercules airplane. He hails from Boerne, Texas, and was commissioned out of Officer Candidate School as an ensign in December 2015.