united states coast guard

R 230847 AUG 19
UNCLAS //N01650//
ALCOAST 272/19
A. Recognition Programs Manual, COMDTINST M1650.26 (series)
1. COMDT (CG-7) is honored to announce the recipients of the Captain Frank A. Erickson and
Commander Elmer F. Stone Aviation Awards for 2019. The Coast Guard Aviation Association
sponsors these annual aviation awards to recognize Coast Guard rotary-wing and fixed-wing
aircrews who have demonstrated exceptional performance while engaged in Search and Rescue
2. The Captain Frank A. Erickson Award is presented to the Air Station Cape Cod crew of
CGNR 6032, LCDR William J. Burwell, LT Katelyn M. Dacimo, AMT1 Devin R. Lloyd, AST2
Michael W. Kelly, and AST3 Luke M. Headley in recognition of their heroic efforts on 14
November 2018. CGNR 6032 responded within 20 minutes of being alerted of the fishing vessel
AARON AND MELISSA II which was taking on water. Due to the vessel’s location in a nor’easter
with greater than 50 knot winds and 25 foot seas, CGNR 6032 departed with an extra Rescue
Swimmer and heavy-weather rescue gear. During the 140 nm transit to the vessel’s last known
position, the aircrew monitored direction-finding equipment and searched with the FLIR as they
discussed various scenarios they might encounter. As CGNR 6032 closed on the vessel’s estimated
location the aircrew experienced jarring turbulence and wind gusts up to 60 knots. A 406-EPIRB
signal was received just as LT Dacimo located a life raft. LCDR Burwell marked the position,
relayed the coordinates, and entered a hover to commence the rescue sequence. The storm
battered raft showed no obvious signs of life as AMTl Lloyd began conning CGNR 6032 to
provide AST2 Kelly a downwind approach to it. As LT Dacimo announced a coming wave crest,
AMTl Lloyd positioned AST2 Kelly to release from his sling. With the swimmer in the water,
the aircraft backed away to gain visual contact with the raft and the swimmer. The raft was
swept further away during the deployment and AST2 Kelly had to fight the heavy seas to reach
it. The swim required AST2 Kelly’s full strength, but he was able to grab the sea anchor and
pull himself to the raft where he discovered four hypothermic survivors inside. Relaying the
survivors’ conditions to the helicopter, AST2 Kelly reassured them. He discovered that two of
the mariners did not know how to swim and their survival suits were damaged and taking on
water. The rescue basket sailed well aft of the aircraft as AMT1 Lloyd hoisted it down to the
water, but he was able to skillfully deliver it within feet of the swimmer. AST2 Kelly loaded
the first survivor into the basket and attempted to keep it from swinging in the winds by
momentarily hanging from it as it departed the water. However, the wave dropped out from
under him, leaving him to hang in the air and then fall onto his back when he released. Upon
resurfacing, he reoriented himself and returned to the raft to gather the next survivor.
Three more times, AST2 Kelly fought off nausea and exhaustion to gather the next frantic
mariner and tow them to the rescue basket. As each survivor entered the cabin, AST3 Headley
checked on their condition and provided any care needed. Despite the arduous conditions, the
crew of CGNR 6032 maintained station and completed the recovery of all four survivors of the
F/V AARON AND MELISSA II, undoubtedly saving their lives.
3. The following nominees were also recommended for this award and deserve honorable mention
for their heroic actions:
    Air Station Barbers Point, CGNR 6528 – USNS MARURY MEDEVAC
    Air Station Elizabeth City, CGNR 6038 – HURRICANE FLORENCE
    Sector North Bend, CGNR 6512 – CRATER LAKE RESCUE
4. The Commander Elmer F. Stone Award is presented to the Air Station Barbers Point crew of
CGNR 1720, LT Erik J. Wyrick, LT Terrell D. Jackson, AMT2 Gregory W. Knight, AET2 Trenton K.
Garza, AMT2 Garth H. Booye, AET3 Kevin Q. Blair, and AMT3 Colby L. Smith in recognition of
their heroic efforts on 31 December 2018 responding to a distress call from the Motor Vessel
SINCERITY ACE. The SINCERITY ACE experienced an uncontrollable engine room fire 1,800 nautical
miles west of Oahu, and due to inoperable lifeboat davits, the crew of 21 people were forced
to abandon ship directly into the water. After configuring CGNR 1720 with multiple Aerial Sea
Rescue Kits (ASRK-24) comprised of rafts and survival kits, the crew launched and completed
a 7.5 hour transit to the vessel’s location. Once on scene, the crew of 1720 observed multiple
survivors in the water, spread out over a five square mile area, as others aboard the ship
were still attempting to enter the water. Five Automated Mutual-Assistance Vessel Rescue (AMVER)
vessels were also on scene attempting to locate the survivors. The aircrew immediately
established on scene command, organized rescue efforts, and commenced vectoring the AMVER
vessels to each survivor’s location. Due to the 24-foot seas and winds gusting to 30 knots,
it was extremely difficult for the AMVER vessels to locate the survivors. The aircrew chose to
deploy two ASRK-24s alongside the burning vessel to assist those abandoning ship and then
deployed a flare in the vicinity of a group of three people to mark their position. While on
scene, the aircrew established a maximum endurance profile and coordinated search action plans
to minimize the gap in air surveillance before another aviation asset could arrive. Prior to
departing from the scene, eight victims were successfully recovered, and AMVER vessels were
actively recovering another eight. After 11.2 flight hours, the pilots safely landed at Wake
Island. The next day, the crew of CGNR 1720 continued searching for survivors and safely
deployed a canister packed with food to one of the AMVER vessels to sustain the survivors.
The crew selflessly performed their duties resulting in 16 lives saved.
5. The following nominees were also recommended for this award and deserve honorable mention
for their heroic actions:
    Aviation Training Center Mobile, CGNR 2307 – MISS VIRGINIA
    Air Station Cape Cod, CGNR 2303 – MARTHA’S VINEYARD MEDEVAC
    Air Station Elizabeth City, CGNR 2005 – FISHING VESSEL RESCUE
    Air Station Kodiak, CGNR 1713 – SAINT PAUL MEDEVAC
6. I extend my personal congratulations to the award winners, and to each of the nominated
aircrews. Through your actions, you demonstrated the highest levels of courage and
professionalism. Your efforts are in keeping with the highest traditions of our service.
7. COMDT (CG-711) will contact the commands of the winning crews for funding travel and
accommodations for attendance at the awards ceremony at the 2019 Ptero Roost, occurring on
07 November 2019 in Clearwater Beach, Florida.
8. RDML M. W. Sibley, Assistant Commandant for Capability, sends.
9. Internet release is authorized.