(MOBILE, Ala.) - Mobile Memorial Gardens Cemetery was the stage for a special tribute to the fallen crewmen of Coast Guard 6535 on Veterans Day.
As the cemetery honored veterans and fallen heroes with their annual Flags of Glory ceremony, organizers put the spotlight on the helicopter crew that went down in Mobile Bay earlier this year.
The crew’s commanding officer at the Aviation Training Center was this year’s featured speaker. A Coast Guard Dolphin, the same type of helicopter the crew went down in, landed on the cemetery grounds.
“The crew of 6535, like many, many others before them, gave the full measure of their willingness when they made the ultimate sacrifice,” Captain Thurman T. Maine said in his speech.
Capt. Maine said it’s the duty of fallen heroes’ fellow serviceman and families to carry on their stories and never let them be forgotten.
“Like we’re doing today,” Capt. Maine said. “Tell their stories over and over. Laugh and cry as we tell them. We must ensure that their children and grandchildren hear them.”
Capt. Maine remembered each individual crew member in his speech.
Lt. Cmdr. Dale Taylor, the crew’s commanding officer and pilot, was remembered as a “big brother” figure whose passion in life was teaching up and coming Coast Guard aviators.
Lt. j.g. Thomas Cameron, the pilot in training, was a standout athlete at the Coast Guard Academy on his last training flight before qualifying as a co-pilot.
Chief Petty Officer Fernando Jorge, the rescue swimmer, was “larger than life” with a fearless and adventurous spirit.
Petty Officer 3rd Class Andrew Knight, the flight mechanic, was remembered as a dedicated and focused young serviceman who was mature beyond his 26 years.