Honoring the Fallen

A MH-65 Dolphin helicopter at Coast Guard Air Station New Orleans bearing the names of fallen aviators, July 7, 2016. This helicopter is one of five helicopters at the air station with the centennial paint job honoring those who perished in the line of duty.  -  U.S. Coast Guard photo by Petty Officer 3rd Class Lexie Preston.

A MH-65 Dolphin helicopter at Coast Guard Air Station New Orleans bearing the names of fallen aviators, July 7, 2016. This helicopter is one of five helicopters at the air station with the centennial paint job honoring those who perished in the line of duty.
– U.S. Coast Guard photo by Petty Officer 3rd Class Lexie Preston.

Painted on the doors of the MH-65 Dolphin helicopters at U.S. Coast Guard Air Station New Orleans are the names of eight heroic aviators who have come before us. Each service member’s name emblazoned on the helicopters honors the fallen, and serves as a reminder to the men and women of the Coast Guard today.

“It reminds you that you need to stay vigilant, keep working hard, keep doing your job and doing the best that

you can to contribute to the Coast Guard mission and do the service proud,” said Lt. j.g. Emily Bogdan, a pilot at Air Station New Orleans.

For Coast Guardsmen serving at the air station, seeing

Lt. j.g. Emily Bogdan, a pilot at Coast Guard Air Station New Orleans, poses with one of the air station’s helicopters with the centennial paint job, July 7, 2016. Bogdan says the names of the fallen aviators painted on the helicopters servers as a reminder to stay vigilant.

Lt. j.g. Emily Bogdan, a pilot at Coast Guard Air Station New Orleans, poses with one of the air station’s helicopters with the centennial paint job, July 7, 2016. Bogdan says the names of the fallen aviators painted on the helicopters servers as a reminder to stay vigilant.

the names everyday has influenced them and helped to motivate them in their day-to-day duties and responsibilities.

“When you’re working on the hanger deck it makes you want to make sure you’re doing something right,” said Petty Officer 1st Class Kevin Cheatham an aviation maintenance technician at Air Station New Orleans. “You’ve got to take care of everyone else because you never know what’s going to happen when you take off.”

The names all belong to service members from the air station’s current area of responsibility, and from different decades throughout history. The earliest accident

occurred December 18, 1945 when a crew from Air Station Biloxi perished during a ferry flight to Naval Air Station Seattle for an overhaul. The next was July 7, 1953,

A MH-65 Dolphin helicopter at Coast Guard Air Station New Orleans bearing the names of fallen aviators, July 7, 2016. Ensign Vernon C Fleck and Petty Officer 2nd Class John C. Netherland perished in an accident July 7, 1953.  -  U.S. Coast Guard photo by Petty Officer 3rd Class Lexie Preston.

A MH-65 Dolphin helicopter at Coast Guard Air Station New Orleans bearing the names of fallen aviators, July 7, 2016. Ensign Vernon C Fleck and Petty Officer 2nd Class John C. Netherland perished in an accident July 7, 1953.
– U.S. Coast Guard photo by Petty Officer 3rd Class Lexie Preston.

when a crew from Air Station Biloxi was responding to a request for a medical evacuation. The most recent was February 28, 2012, while a crew from Aviation Training Center Mobile was conducting training operations.

Although these accidents happened decades apart, they impacted service members in an equally severe way.

“It doesn’t matter how long ago, we all still do the same job. We signed up for the same missions, so it’s the same Coast Guard,” said Bogdan. “They were flying over the same land, the same area and the same waters that we fly now.”