Throughout the history of the U.S. Coast Guard’s aviation branch, the service’s aircraft have come to the aid of the American public in emergencies and in time of need. However, the holiday season provides a unique opportunity for private citizens to show their appreciation. Beginning in the Great Depression, aviator William “Bill” Wincapaw began the tradition of the Flying Santa.
Lt. Cmdr. Harry Greene has a passion for flying both on and off duty. He is a helicopter pilot at Coast Guard Air Station Barbers Point and an aircraft enthusiast in his off-duty time.
To celebrate the centennial anniversary of Coast Guard aviation, we share the story of Petty Officer 2nd Class Dan Grow, a flight mechanic currently stationed at U.S. Coast Guard Air Station Houston.
It is an absolute privilege to be a Coast Guard pilot. This has been my dream job since my dad took me to my first air show when I was 8 years old. The profession is not void of danger; the duties not lacking in uncertainty. But the prospect of helping perfect strangers while working as a team is as outstanding as I can conceive.
To me, being a Coast Guard aviator means belonging to a family whose ranks are filled with professionals of the highest caliber. The Coast Guard emblem is our crest; the golden wings on our chest are proof of membership. We share the view from above the clouds during our successes, and help put each other back together when a member is hard down.
To celebrate the centennial anniversary of Coast Guard aviation, we share the story of Lt. Amanda Montour, a MH-65 Dolphin helicopter pilot currently stationed at U.S. Coast Guard Air Station Houston.
Today, when asked “What does being a Coast Guard aviator mean to me?” I would say that my answer has remained essentially unchanged: “Being able to ensure that somebody gets to wake up in the morning is what gets me up in the morning.”
Each and every day, Coast Guard aviation crews around the Nation take part in nearly every Coast Guard mission. From assisting with the establishment of crucial aids to navigation to conducting medical evacuations of mariners at sea to transporting endangered sea animals from coast to coast, Coast Guard aviation has a footprint on everything the Coast Guard does. But how did aviation become a part of the Coast Guard?
Coast Guard aviation was born when 3rd Lt. Elmer Stone reported to flight training on April 1, 1916. Now, a full century later, 2016 will represent the 100th year of U.S. Coast Guard aviation.
“Their numbers were not large – their contribution was,” said Capt. Sean Cross. “They were all volunteers, many with spouses and families, who regularly put their lives on the line to save fellow airmen who were in peril of death or capture. Their focus was on Honor, Respect and Devotion to Duty.”