COMMENTARY | It is easy to forget the service and commitment that our service members do every day close to home. We were reminded of that Tuesday when the Coast Guard rescue helicopter CG-6535 went down in Mobile Bay off the Alabama coast. Four servicemen died. Poor weather on Saturday forced Coast Guard officials to briefly cancel recovery efforts for one missing crewmember, but they were able to resume after weather cleared, the Press Register reported.
The crew was involved a routine training mission when the mishap occurred, but this is a strong reminder that "routine" is still dangerous when it comes to rescue operations. The Press Register reported wreckage, including the flight data recorders, was recovered, but it might be several weeks before a cause is known. What we already know is that four patriots gave their lives doing what they loved.
Service to our country comes with a price, and sometimes it is the making the ultimate sacrifice. Whether it is on the battlefield or during a rescue operation, the risk remains the same -- the loss is no less painful. Adm. Robert Papp, commandant of the U.S. Coast Guard, told WKRG the Coast Guard Foundation will care for the families of those who died but all Americans should pause to remember their loss and sacrifice.
The Coast Guard is often the forgotten service because it generally does not take part in high-profile combat missions. But it is an incredible asset to maritime safety and completes thousands of rescue missions every year. The Coast Guard website has a tribute page that has hundreds of comments from fellow Coast Guard members and people around the world.
The Press Register paid tribute to the four lost "Coasties," calling them athletes, family men and sincerely committed to their job, their friends and family. In essence, flight mechanic Andrew Knight, co-pilot Thomas Cameron, rescue swimmer Fernando Jorge and pilot Lt. Cmdr. Dale Taylor represent the best qualities of all of us, and for that we should take a moment to pause and reflect on their sacrifice.
Rest in peace.