U.S. Coast Guard Aviation History
The Coast Guard Aviation
Timeline is a testimony to the evolution and achievements of Coast guard
Aviation as it prepares to complete its first 100 years of service. This
work is designed to actively contribute to the enlargement and perpetuation
of the history of Coast Guard Aviation and the recognition thereof, both
internally and in areas external to the service.
It highlights the significant events and developments that shaped Coast
Guard Aviation from 1915 to 2008.
The presentation is a
chronological digest. It is designed to fully facilitate an interactive
kiosk presentation and/or electronic reproduction. Although not a detailed
treatise of all aspects of Coast Guard Aviation activities, technical
developments and administrative changes, it is a definitive history. The
work prints out to 474 pages and contains 508 photo images. The aim is to
make this a first-source document that people use when they are looking for
basic information on Coast Guard Aviation.
The chronology of events is
presented in five sections encompassing roughly twenty years and
representative of the changes and growth that has taken place. Each section
has a summary of the events and a listing of content by date. The sections
are as follows:
Coast Guard Aviation has
undergone immense change since 1915. Once an adjunct to the service it now
fully integrated and plays a defining role in the activities and structure
of the Coast Guard. The past developments, as chronicled in the Timeline,
serve as a prologue to future developments in Coast Guard Aviation and the
Coast Guard as a whole.
The History Timeline project
was undertaken by the Order of Pterodactyl History Committee which was
formed in January of 2003. The Order is now known as the Coast Guard
Aviation Association. The mission of the committee was to give impetus to
the gathering, preserving, storing and providing ready access to the past
and unfolding of Coast Guard Aviation. The Coast Guard, in constant budget
crisis, had never adequately funded the gathering, preservation, and
promulgation of its history. Time was of an essence as it was realized that
a good portion of the history would soon pass away with those who had made
Pterodactyl and committee
member John “Bear” Moseley, aviator number 743, volunteered for and was
assigned the Timeline project. He was permitted considerable leeway in
defining the elements to be included in the Timeline. Accuracy and
definitive coverage of events and developments were paramount. In the
beginning of the project it was recognized that a drawback of chronologies
as a form of exposition stems from the fact that they record, or chronicle,
events with no attempt at explanation. This chronology departed from that
form, particularly for specific events and periods which are instrumental in
the development of Coast Guard Aviation.
During the rapid growth of
Coast Guard Aviation, from 1943 through the 1960s, Search and Rescue was the
catalyst that made it happen. This
is addressed, but due to the vastness of the subject matter, specific SAR
cases are included only when they illustrate procedures in effect or changes
that took place. The SAR exploits of the U. S. Coast Guard are absolutely
amazing and at times unbelievable. To do the subject justice a book
dedicated solely to these exploits would be required.
Compiling this reference
work encompassed over 5000 hours of research and editing. One of the most
difficult tasks was to condense a vast amount of information from multiple
sources to fit the format, remain definitive, and be written so as to be
comprehended by those not affiliated with Coast Guard Aviation. It
could not have been done without the help of others. People who had lived
and made this history, 196 in number, provided their experiences and
photographs and gave vital assistance in the development of the Timeline. It
was learned early that for major events the experiences of those in command
melded with those performing the mission gave a most complete rendition. I
convey a sincere thank you and recognition to all.
I could not have done it without you!
I wish to give special
thanks to Bob Workman whose research and assistance made possible a
definitive presentation of the beginnings of Coast Guard Aviation. And to
Tom Beard, an accomplished historian and author, whose assistance,
suggestions and patience better equipped me for this undertaking.
When putting together a
reference work with such an extensive range of data, it is almost impossible
to prevent errors. An exhaustive effort was made to check the accuracy of
information presented. When different sets of records or sources provided
conflicting data, I selected what I believed to be the most accurate
information based on reviewing all the possible sources. As the primary
compiler for this chronological history, I accept full responsibility for
any mistakes or errors of fact or misinterpretations that may have occurred.
I welcome any corrections.
Aviator Number 743