Air Station Houston honors first Coast Guard helicopter pilot

Capt. Frank Erickson's, Coast Guard Helicopter Pilot #1, new headstone is revealed during a ceremony at Galveston Memorial Park in Hitchcock, Texas, Sept. 27, 2019. Erickson is recognized as a pioneer of helicopter rescues, hydraulic hoist systems and stabilization equipment, and is credited with participating in the first-ever helicopter life-saving mission. U.S. Coast Guard photo by Seaman Gabriel Wisdom.

Capt. Frank Erickson’s, Coast Guard Helicopter Pilot #1, new headstone is revealed during a ceremony at Galveston Memorial Park in Hitchcock, Texas, Sept. 27, 2019.  U.S. Coast Guard photo by Seaman Gabriel Wisdom.

HOUSTON — Coast Guard Air Station Houston held a memorial ceremony Friday to rededicate the headstone of Coast Guard Helicopter Pilot #1, Capt. Frank Erickson, whose contributions to naval aviation forever changed search and rescue.

Born in Portland, Oregon, Erickson served in the Navy before enlisting in the U.S. Coast Guard. He received an appointment to the Coast Guard Academy and was commissioned in 1931. While at the Academy, Erickson developed a passionate interest in the techniques of search and rescue and, on May 14, 1935, became Coast Guard Aviator #32.

In 1943, Erickson was selected to be the first Coast Guard aviator to qualify as a helicopter pilot, and just shortly thereafter, on Jan. 3, 1944, he piloted the first helicopter rescue mission. You can read more about Erickson and his contributions to naval aviation here: https://coastguard.dodlive.mil/2019/02/the-long-blue-line-lt-cmdr-frank-erickson-coast-guard-pioneer-of-helicopter-flight/.


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