Coast Guard Air Crew Receives Eurocopter Golden Hour Award

The Helicopter Association International announced today that this year’s Eurocopter Golden Hour Award recipient is the crew of HH-65C CG6553 of the United States Coast Guard Air Station Savannah. On January 18, 2006 this crew flew through severe thunderstorms and 25-foot seas to rescue the crew of the tug Valour. The boat was being battered by 70-knot winds and was taking on large amounts of water.

The crew positioned the aircraft to prepare their rescue swimmer for the high surf and winds, which were causing severe difficulties. After several attempts the swimmer reached the crewmember and the crew hoisted him into the helicopter. Suffering from hypothermia, the rescued man was taken to the nearest hospital. The Secretary of the Department of Homeland Security, Michael Chertoff personally called to congratulate the pilots and crew after hearing about their horrific rescue during his morning briefing. These crewmembers include Lieutenant Brian S. Waring, Lieutenant Patrick M. Lineberry, Aviation Electrical Technician Second Class (AET2) David S. Fanelli, and Aviation Survival Technician First Class (AST1) John D. Isbell.

Lieutenant Lineberry is a native of Glen Allen, Virginia. He served as a Deck Watch Officer onboard the Coast Guard Cutter Gallatin and later attended Naval Flight Training in Pensacola, Florida, where he earned his “wings.”

AST1 Isbell is a native of Kansas City, Kansas. After more than a year aboard the Coast Guard buoy tender Basswood in Guam, his career took him to Hawaii, and later to Helicopter Rescue Swimmer School in San Diego, California. Isbell completed a tour in Polar Operations, where he accomplished a trip to Antarctica and the Arctic before coming to Savannah in 2004.

AET2 Fanelli is a native New Yorker. He attended boot camp in Cape May, New Jersey and was stationed in Atlantic City, while pursuing a degree in avionics.

Lieutenant Waring calls Atlanta home. He graduated from the University of Georgia and was active in the Army for seven years, serving as a lieutenant. He transferred to the South Carolina National Guard, and eventually to the Coast Guard in Savannah. This crew’s teamwork and dedication to duty is an inspiration to the rotorcraft industry.

All winners will be recognized at HELI-EXPO 2007’s annual “Salute to Excellence” Awards Celebration on March 2, 2007 at 8:00 p.m. in Orlando, Florida. For more information about the 2007 “Salute to Excellence” Awards Celebration, contact HAI’s Communications Department at 703-683-4646, fax: 703-683-4745, or email: For more information on HELI-EXPO 2007, visit

HAI is the professional trade association for the international helicopter industry. HAI’s 1,350-plus-member organizations and 1,150 individual members, in more than 73 nations, safely operate more than 4,500 helicopters approximately 2.3 million hours each year. HAI is dedicated to the promotion of the helicopter as a safe, effective method of commerce and to the advancement of the international helicopter community.

Source: HAI Press Release

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