US Coast Guard honors 6-man crew killed in 1986 helicopter crash
On Wednesday, U.S. Coast Guard personnel gathered at Air Station Kodiak to honor the lives of the USCG crew that lost their lives during a medical mission 30 years ago.
“While conducting a medevac mission to the remote Alaska village of Akhiok, the crew of Coast Guard 1473, an HH-3F Pelican helicopter, crashed into uninhabited Ugak Island at night after rounding Cape Chiniak and turning south through turbulent winds and low visibility.”
That’s how Petty Officer 1st Class Kelly Parker described the fateful night of Nov. 2, 1986, when Lt. Michael Dollahite, Lt. Robert Carson Jr., Petty Officer 2nd Class Kevin McCracken, Petty Officer 3rd Class William Kemp, Cmdr. David Rockmore and Petty Officer 3rd Class Ralph King were killed.
The crew was responding to the remote village of Ahkiok to help a man who suffered a head injury during a football game, according to the USCG Roll of Honor. Around 9:30 p.m., Air Station Kodiak lost contact with the helicopter, which was destroyed by a post-crash fire.
“We will continue to honor the crew of 1473 each and every day by continuing the missions here in Kodiak, Alaska, and standing the watch,” Capt. Mark Morin, Air Station Kodiak’s commanding officer, said at the ceremony Wednesday.
The ceremony included a moment of silence and the unveiling of a memorial that will be installed at Kodiak Island’s Narrow Cape, which overlooks Ugak Island, Parker explained in a statement. The memorial describes CG1473’s mission and includes each crew member’s name. Parker said it was donated by Koniag Inc.
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