Coast Guard hosts dedication ceremony at Sector St. Petersburg in honor of Blackthorn crewmember

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ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. — Coast Guard Sector St. Petersburg crewmembers hosted a building dedication ceremony and honored a fallen shipmate at the sector, Monday.

The dedication of the Frank J. Sarna Patrol Boat Support Building and Fitness Center was in honor of Ensign Frank J. Sarna III, an officer assigned to the Coast Guard Cutter Blackthorn at the time of the cutter’s sinking January 1980.

After Blackthorn sank, Sarna was seen on the surface of the water making repeated dives below the water in an attempt to assist and free trapped crewmembers. After one of his dives he failed to re-surface.

Coast Guard Adm. Bob Papp, commandant of the Coast Guard, is shown with Patricia Sarna, mother of Ens. Frank J. Sarna, during the Frank J. Sarna Patrol Boat Support Building and Fitness Center dedication ceremony at Sector St. Petersburg, Monday, Jan. 27, 2014. The building dedication was in honor of Sarna, an officer assigned to the Coast Guard Cutter Blackthorn at the time of the cutter's sinking January 1980. (U.S. Coast Guard photo by Petty Officer 2nd Class Michael De Nyse)

Coast Guard Adm. Bob Papp, commandant of the Coast Guard, is shown with Patricia Sarna, mother of Ens. Frank J. Sarna, during the dedication ceremony Monday, Jan. 27, 2014. U.S. Coast Guard photo by Petty Officer 2nd Class Michael De Nyse

“Sarna distinguished himself with his selfless sacrifice to assist shipmates in peril,” said Lt. j.g. Shawn Antonelli, a member of the sector’s enforcement division and event project officer. “His actions truly embody the Coast Guard core values and reflected the highest degree of honor, respect, and devotion to duty.”

Sarna’s family, fellow shipmates and friends were in attendance as Adm. Bob Papp, commandant of the Coast Guard, spoke during and presided over the event.

The Coast Guard is scheduled to host a memorial service for the 34th anniversary of the sinking of the Blackthorn, Tuesday.

Click the photo for more from the ceremony

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