MOBILE, Ala.(WPMI) Family members of four Coast Guardsman killed in a helicopter crash on Mobile Bay last year attended a private memorial service Thursday, the anniversary of the accident.
Petty Officer Fernando George, Lieutenant Commander Dale Taylor, Lieutenant JG Tom Cameron and Petty Officer Third Class Drew Knight all lost their lives when CG-6535 crashed in Mobile Bay during a routine training mission.
A spokesperson for the Coast Guard told Local 15 News the victim's families participated in a very intimate memorial service where the Dolphin helicopter crashed last year. The families aboard the Coast Guard Cutter "Cobia" laid wreaths at the crash site in Mobile Bay, a ceremony similar to one performed in the days following the deadly crash last year.
Teresa Taylor, the widow of Lt. Cmdr. Dale Taylor, said she declined to attend the Thursday wreath laying. She said she want to spend time with her family.
Taylor said some days have been better than others in the month after she lost her husband.
"Without my partner, there's just days where it's so hard to make decisions," Taylor said. "Whenever one of the boys gets sick, or I'm sick, and he's not there it just feels like this huge void."
Taylor said the night she learned of the accident is etched in her memory.
"I actually went to bed extraordinarily early that night, which would have never happened on a normal night," Taylor said. "I heard the door, someone knock on the door. At first I didn't even move because I though it's probably just some kids. I mean, I can remember thinking that.
"I think I probably just asked who was there. I remember when I heard the words, you know, 'It's Captain Tom Maine. Can we come in and talk?' It's like, immediately, I just I knew."
Taylor said despite fighting back what she knew was true, she said telling her kids their father wasn't coming home was the most difficult moment.
"From the knock until even now I would say, through the whole ordeal, telling them (my children) has definitely been the hardest thing I've ever had to do," Taylor said.
Taylor said her strength in her faith, and support from her friends, has kept her confident that God has a plan.
"From the very get-go, I was never alone so that made a world of difference," Taylor said.
The solemn anniversary services will continue Friday morning at the Mobile Aviation Training Center. A Coast Guard Spokesperson told Local 15 News there will be a dedication and unveiling of a memorial to Coast Guard 6535, and a rededication of a memorial to Coast Guard 1427; another deadly helicopter accident that happened at Bates Field in 1981 killing four crew members on board.