On board the cutter Blackthorn, twenty-three perish…The US coast guard remembers

Posted: 01/30/2012 in all marine news

gCaptain – 

Yesterday marked 32 years since the sinking of Coast Guard Cutter Blackthorn.

Twenty-three of the Blackthorn’s 50 crewmembers lost their lives during the Coast Guard’s worst peacetime disaster, and a memorial inscribed with the names of the crewmembers that perished now stands two miles north of the accident site.

Vice Adm. Robert C. Parker, Atlantic Area Commander, was at the ceremony honoring the ship’s crew. Below are his thoughts immediately following the ceremony. – LT Stephanie Young, USCG. Our worst peace time loss.

Thirty-two years to the day and connections to this event still remain. Personal connections abound, including my own. I remember the disbelief I felt when I saw the message. Had to be a mistake. It wasn’t. The news got worse. And worse still.

Over the years I have wondered how each of the effected lives would have turned out had this fate not befallen them.

Would my classmate Frank Sarna maybe be in my privileged position instead of me ?

Questions that will remain forever unanswered. A cuttermen tribute is read by Lt. Craig Allen, prospective commanding officer of Coast Guard Cutter William Flores. He begins to read the names of the fallen.

The bell tolls. As I prepare to deliver my remarks the bell tolls for each member of the crew as one of 23 crew members from the soon-to-be Coast Guard Cutter William Flores places a rose on the memorial to honor the fallen.

When the name of my classmate is called and the bell rings, a lump forms high in my throat. It would remain through my entire remarks.

It was a fittingly moving ceremony brilliantly executed with the help of Sector St. Petersburg and countless unseen supporters.

Full story…

 

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