In 1925, using borrowed Navy aircraft, the Coast Guard demonstrated the value of air assets through the first aerial law enforcement assist and the first aviation interdiction. The next year, Congress appropriated $162,000 to purchase the first five Coast Guard aircraft, designed specifically for the Service’s needs.
Tag: coast guard aviation
As the Coast Guard continues to celebrate 100 years of distinguished aviation service by the men and women of the U.S. Coast Guard, it is with sad hearts that we remember a true Coast Guard aviation pioneer – Commander Stewart Ross Graham. The aviation community today is still ensuring his legacy lives on, and even more so during the recent floods of Baton Rouge. Continue to read more to about all of his accomplishments and his dedication to the Coast Guard in the message from some of those who followed in his footsteps.
The pantheon of famous Coast Guard aviators includes such 20th century luminaries as Elmer Stone, the world’s first aviator to pilot an aircraft across the Atlantic Ocean; Frank Erickson, pioneering aviator in the development of the helicopter; and Donald MacDiarmid, considered the Coast Guard’s foremost authority on maritime aviation search, rescue and survival. One individual missing from the list of famous aviators is Richard Leon Burke. In his day, military leaders, prominent politicians and Coast Guard aviators, including MacDiarmid, recognized Burke as the Service’s most skillful and experienced air-sea rescue pilot.
“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.”
Chief Machinist’s Mate Berry became one of the world’s first helicopter maintenance specialists. A distinguished expert mechanic on original Coast Guard aircraft including landplanes and seaplanes as well as helicopters, he was lead instructor at the very first U.S. military helicopter training unit, the Rotary Wing Development Unit…
“It’s always essential to know your roots. It’s vitally important to come back and look at our history because it can teach us things about the future, like what kind of threats may come up or technological changes we may have to adapt to. The Coast Guard has a legacy of saving lives and aviation is one of those technological changes that have helped to rescue millions upon millions of lives.”