SACRAMENTO – On October 29, 2009, a Coast Guard HC-130 transport plane and a Marine AH-1 Cobra helicopter collided off the coast of Southern California.
All seven crewmembers of the Hercules CG 1705 plane, based out of the U.S. Coast Guard Air Station Sacramento, perished along with two helicopter crewmen from Camp Pendleton. The collision occurred about 15 miles east of San Clemente Island in the Channel Islands chain, and about 50 miles from San Diego.
Tuesday marks the 10th anniversary of the tragedy. A private ceremony, for Coast Guard and other military personnel, will take place at Air Station Sacramento. It is a private ceremony and not open to the public.
Multiple investigations determined that the crash occurred due to an unfortunate chain of events, rather than a single factor, person or unit. The three command investigations found no misconduct by any of the Coast Guard, Marine Corps, or Navy personnel. The investigations did lead to recommendations for improved training, safety, and procedures.
The Coast Guard plane was conducting a search and rescue mission while the Marine helicopter was engaged in a training mission when they collided. Both were in a training area monitored by Navy air traffic control in San Diego.
Crew members from USCG 1705 included: Lt. Cmdr. Che J. Barnes, aircraft commander; Lt. Adam W. Bryant, co-pilot; Chief Petty Officer John F. Seidman, flight engineer; Petty Officer 2nd Class Carl P. Grigonis, navigator; Petty Officer 2nd Class Monica L. Beacham, radio operator; Petty Officer 2nd Class Jason S. Moletszky, air crew; and Petty Officer 3rd Class Danny R. Kreder II, drop master.
Maj. Samuel Leigh and First Lt. Thomas Claiborne died aboard the Marine helicopter.
I will never forget this day.
God bless the men and women who serve in our military.