Crash and Collision, Recrimination and Rememberance

Two items today, recall the dark side of being a Coastie:

Navy Times reports that Commander Coast Guard District 17 charged, Lt. Lance Leone, the co-pilot and lone survivor of the crash of an MH-60 Jayhawk off La Push, WA, July 7, 2010, with negligent homicide, dereliction of duty, and destruction of government property on Sept. 30. “An Article 32 hearing to determine whether Leone will be court-martialed is scheduled for early December…Witnesses told local media at the time that the helicopter was flying at a low altitude and crashed into the Pacific after clipping power lines…The crew was flying the helicopter home to Sitka, Alaska, after it finished a maintenance and upgrade period in Astoria, Ore.” (Because Leone was co-pilot, and presumably not pilot-in-command, I’m curious why these charges were filed.)

The Coast Guard Compass remembers the sinking of the Cutter Cuyahoga, 33 years ago today with the recollections of Cmdr. Gordon Thomas IV (ret) who survived the collision as an officer candidate.

File:Cuyahoga Wreck2.jpg


6 thoughts on “Crash and Collision, Recrimination and Rememberance

  1. “Because Leone was co-pilot, and presumably not pilot-in-command, I’m curious why these charges were filed.”

    As the navigator, he did not do his job in identifying the hazard. They are clearly marked on the sectional charts.

    He isn’t out of the woods yet. Another article speaks of upcoming administrative actions.

  2. He may not be out of the woods, but apparently his navigation plan would have avoid the hazard. The pilot departed from the plan and in buzzing a boat at less than 500 feet, violated FAA regulations. He knowingly departed from the plan and violated FAA regulations so telling him that he was doing that probably would not have made a difference.

    I question why the aircraft’s GPS did not provide an audio warning of the hazard. Systems with that capability are common in General aviation now.

  3. Remembering Cuyahoga

    R 151955Z OCT 21
    ALCOAST 382/21
    SSIC 5700
    1. On October 20, 1978, USCGC CUYAHOGA (WIX-157) was underway in
    the Chesapeake Bay near the mouth of the Potomac River on a
    nighttime training mission when it collided with the 521-foot
    Argentine-flagged freighter M/V SANTA CRUZ II. The impact of the
    collision was so devastating that USCGC CUYAHOGA sank in two
    minutes, taking 10 Coast Guardsmen and an international officer
    with it. Eighteen crewmembers survived the incident.
    2. USCGC CUYAHOGA began its career chasing rumrunners during the
    Prohibition and then served as the tender for the presidential
    yacht POTOMAC. During World War II, it spent the majority of its
    time in the Caribbean Sea escorting Allied vessels between
    Guantanamo Bay, Trinidad, and Paramaribo. In the late 1950s, it
    became the training cutter for the Officer Candidate School (OCS)
    in New London and moved to Yorktown with the OCS in 1959.
    3. In 1977, the year before its loss, USCGC CUYAHOGA celebrated
    50 years of commissioned service. At that time, it was the oldest
    operational commissioned ship in the U.S. sea services. At the
    time of its loss, USCGC CUYAHOGA was the last remaining cutter of
    its class.
    4. USCGC CUYAHOGA sinking – and the USCGC BLACKTHORN (WLB-391)
    collision and sinking 15 months later – resulted in improvements in
    Coast Guard cutter policy, doctrine, training, and standardization.
    The Service created the Prospective CO/XO Afloat Course, mandated
    that all CO/XO/OODs pass the Deck Watch Officer Examination,
    required prospective CO/OINCs to conduct underway familiarization
    rides, and promulgated the Commandant’s Cutter Navigation Standards.
    5. In the aftermath of the USCGC CUYAHOGA tragedy, the Service took
    vital steps to improve safety in afloat operations, but tragedy
    should never serve as a catalyst for better safety standards.
    Today, Service leaders at all levels are trained to mitigate risk
    and ensure that Coast Guard operations are performed as safely as
    6. We honor the sacrifice of those Coast Guardsmen who perished
    aboard USCGC CUYAHOGA over 40 years ago by adhering to the lessons
    learned from that tragedy, strengthened by the knowledge that they
    did not die in vain.
    7. Two ceremonies will be held to memorialize USCGC CUYAHOGA.
    On Monday, October 18 OCS will host a ceremony on the campus of the
    Coast Guard Academy. For further information, please contact
    LT Martin Betts at (504) 671-2157 or
    On Wednesday, October 20, a ceremony will take place on the grounds
    of Training Center Yorktown. For more information, please contact
    LT Samuel Guinn at (757) 856-2241,
    A detailed history of USCGC CUYAHOGA is available at:
    (Copy and Paste URL Below into Browser)

    8. Please pause to reflect on our lost shipmates of USCGC CUYAHOGA
    and remember their service to our nation.
    9. Semper Paratus.
    10. POC: Susan Giedt, Training Center Yorktown Command Planner,
    11. RDML M. W. Raymond, Commander, Force Readiness Command
    (FC-C), sends.
    12. Internet release is authorized.

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