Coast Guard Air Station San Francisco honors fallen aircrew of helicopter 6505

SAN FRANCISCO — Coast Guard Air Station San Francisco participated in a tribute on Wednesday and Thursday in honor of the Honolulu-based helicopter crew who perished in a nighttime training accident in September 2008.

Five official Coast Guard flags, known as ensigns, were hoisted at various locations throughout the Bay Area to commemorate the four fallen crewmembers from Air Station Barbers Point, Hawaii. The ensigns were flown from a 41-foot Coast Guard boat while underway, at Station San Francisco on Yerba Buena Island, from the Golden Gate Bridge Visitors Center flagpole and at Air Station San Francisco adjacent to San Francisco Airport.

Many Coast Guard service members in the Bay Area have a personal connection to Coast Guard helicopter 6505 because the aircraft was previously assigned to Air Station San Francisco. From 2002 to 2006, 6505 flew countless missions in Northern California, assisting in search and rescue cases and maritime patrols. The helicopter was transferred to Air Station Barbers Point in Hawaii in 2006.

The Coast Guard Ensigns are traveling to all 27 Coast Guard air stations in the United States and Puerto Rico, where each is honoring the Honolulu-based aircrew. Photos of the raised Coast Guard Ensigns from each air station, along with the flags, will be presented to the families of the fallen helicopter crew at the conclusion of the ensigns’ tour.

The Coast Guard Ensign was first flown by the Coast Guard’s ancestor, the Revenue Cutter Service, as a symbol of its law enforcement authority. Today, the ensign must be flown by all U. S. Coast Guard cutters, boats and land-based stations involved in law enforcement activity.

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