Coast Guard aviators have always been at the forefront of technological change. So it should come as no surprise that 100 years ago, Elmer F. Stone became a driving force behind early Coast Guard aviation and served as a pilot in the Navy’s NC Seaplane Squadron One where he became the first man to pilot an aircraft across the Atlantic.
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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.
For more than 150 years, servicemembers from every military branch have been laid to rest at Arlington National Cemetery. The cemetery has a free app to help visitors locate gravesites, monuments and more. It also includes a self-guided Coast Guard tour focusing on points of interest relating to the Coast Guard, Coast Guard aviation and notable pioneers of naval aviation.
Coast Guard aviators have always been in the forefront of technological change and put themselves in harm’s way to complete the mission. Coast Guardsmen have risked their lives to pioneer the development of the helicopter, and the rescue swimmer program; while others have served as astronauts in the Space Shuttle Program. Service personnel have flown rescue missions in all sorts of weather conditions from the jungles of Vietnam, to the treacherous Bering Sea, to the frigid ice cap of Greenland. So it should come as no surprise that a Coast Guard aviator was the first to cross the Atlantic by aircraft.
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?
During a severe snow storm in Massachusetts in early February, a premature baby was born on Nantucket and was in need of medical care beyond what the island’s hospital could provide. The CGNR 2309 crew of from Air Station Cape Cod pushed the limits to deliver a medical team and neonatal incubator to save the child’s life earning them the Cmdr. Elmer F. Stone award.
“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.”