Statement by Adm. Allen on the passing of James Thach

WASHINGTON – Adm. Thad Allen, commandant of the U.S. Coast Guard, issued the following statement today concerning the passing of a long-time supporter and friend of the Coast Guard, James H. Thach, III, of Lyme, Conn. who died February 2, 2008.

“The Coast Guard has had not greater friend than Jim Thach. Although he never wore the Coast Guard uniform, he made significant and sustained contributions to the evolution and modernization of the service’s aviation capabilities. As director of search and rescue requirements at Sikorsky Aircraft, where he worked for 35 years, he was involved in every Coast Guard aviation program since 1964, including the HH-52A, the first turbine-powered amphibious search and rescue helicopter, the HH-3F, and the HH-60J. He was responsible for the design and delivery of the HH-60J to the United States Coast Guard and HH-60H to the United State Navy.

Mr. Thach was awarded the Coast Guard Distinguished Public Service Award in 1999 and Meritorious Public Service Award in 1987. In 1972, he was the recipient of the Igor I. Sikorsky Helicopter Rescue Award, “Rescue S”, as the pilot of a Sikorsky helicopter during a life saving mission.

In addition to his important contributions to the Coast Guard, he served this nation as a member of the Army and as a Navy midshipman. A helicopter and fixed wing pilot, he was a member of the Ancient Order of the Pterodactyls Society. He worked through the Navy League for many years in support of the Coast Guard.

His life’s work and dedication to our service and its lifesaving mission are highly commendable and notable by any standard. While we extend our sympathies to his family and are all saddened by his passing, we must also reflect and celebrate the lifetime accomplishments of this distinguished friend of the United States Coast Guard.”

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