Coast Guard Aviation Association Awards

Each year at the annual Roost the Coast Guard Aviation Association honors active duty aviation personnel by recognizing outstanding achievement.

Captain Marion “Gus” Shrode
Flight Safety Award

Lt Patrick Dill USCG
Lt Barry Miles USCG
Lt Joel Cooper , Royal Australian Navy

Award Summary

The Coast Guard Aviation Association annually presents the Captain Marion “Gus” Shrode Aviation Safety Award to recognize superior performance and outstanding contributions to Coast Guard aviation safety. Captain Shrode was a pioneer in the development of Coast Guard aviation standardization programs, including publication of the Coast Guard’s first aircraft standardization manual. Captain Shrode was also instrumental in creating the Coast Guard’s Aviation Training Center in 1966, served as the Aviation Safety Chief, and completed seven years of continuous aviation command with distinction.

Nomination Summary

The safety department was selected by the commandant’s staff for outstanding performance from among the impressive nominations of other aviation safety departments and individuals.

The los angeles air station safety department was instrumental in development of field level tactical patrol procedures for joint operations with the U.S. Border Patrol. Joint patrols resulted in the capture of 41 illegal migrants, 6 human traffickers, 2 vehicles, 6,800 dollars in cash and three tons of marijuana. The input and oversight of the safety department was considered critical to ensure crew and aircraft safety in demanding flight profiles in the high threat border environment.

The department implemented a formal unit practice to identify, document and code risks and mitigation strategies that enhanced transparency and risk awareness at all levels of the eleventh coast guard district. The department also constructed a matrix tracking time between critical maneuvers enabling training missions to target specific areas of concern. In addition, valuable contributions toward personal safety on the hangar deck included innovative mobile carts providing readily available protective gear to work sites elevating safety, work quality and efficiency while decreasing scheduled maintenance times. The los angeles Air Station mission effectiveness was significantly enhanced by the many initiatives and superior performance of the safety department flight safety officers.

Captain Frank Erickson
Rotary Wing Rescue Award


LCDR Sean O’brien, LT Neal Corbin
AMT2 Ian Berg, AST2 David Downham

Past Recipients

The Frank Erickson Award recognizes Rotary-Wing aircrews who have demonstrated exceptional performance while engaged in search and rescue operations.

Nomination Summary

On august 3rd, 2009, their brave actions resulted in the saving of four lives from the fishing vessel, Alexander II, sinking offshore in the Atlantic Ocean. Facing a dense blanket of fog and deteriorating weather conditions, the crew demonstrated keen situational awareness, risk reduction savvy and skillfully balanced aircraft capabilities. The helicopter was flown in instrument conditions the entire ninety miles to the scene with the crew learning en route that requested air support would be unable to participate which made communications with the SAR Mission Controller all the more challenging. The crew was able to establish communications via a relay through another fishing vessel which permitted the passing of pertinent case information in real time. Battling darkness, fog and haze, the crew located the vessel still afloat with the crew in a nearby life raft. Conducting power checks, the crew realized all four survivors could not be recovered without exceeding aircraft weight limitations. After hoisting two survivors, the crew recalculated fuel burn, winds and distance to shore and made the difficult decision to jettison fuel to allow for the rescue of the remaining two survivors. Once all the rescued were safely on board, the crew then faced deteriorating weather conditions all along the eastern seboard with fog on the surface, visibility less than one eighth of a mile and fuel critical. An alternate landing site was necessary. The crew zeroed in on an uncontrolled airfield just within range and arrived at the initial approach fix with only enough fuel for one instrument approach. Landing with mere seconds to spare, the four mariners were safely transferred to waiting medical personnel. The crew’s superlative aeronautical abilities, extraordinary bravery, and impressive teamwork throughout this perilous mission have been described as beyond heroic.

Commander Elmer Stone
Fixed Wing Rescue Award

LT David Shook
LTJG Phillip Ortega, AET1 Robert Blume
AET2 Michael House, AMT3 Case McCroden
AMT3 Paul Johnson

Award Summary

The Elmer Stone Award recognizes Fixed-Wing aircrews who have demonstrated exceptional performance while engaged in search and rescue operations

Nomination Summary

Demonstrated extraordinary skill and courage in saving the lives of ten fish and wildlife employees stranded on a tiny island in the path of a category three hurricane.

Tern Island lies approximately 500 miles west of Honolulu about half way between Hawaii and Midway Island. This small dot in the pacific is a sanctuary for birds, marine mammals and aquatic life. The island consists of little more than an old dilapidated coral runway less than 3,000 feet long and not much wider than a C-130 wingtip to wingtip. This runway of sorts is normally only suitable for small twin engine aircraft landing and taking off in ideal weather conditions. When the request came in to evacuate the ten people, HC-130H 1706 launched with the crew aware that if for some reason they were unable to take off from tern island, they themselves would also be stranded while a 25 foot storm surge engulfed the island. The crew employed their aircraft to its maximum capabilities by successfully landing on the short, wet strip of coral, loading all ten individuals and making a risky takeoff complicated by multiple bird strikes. Through their effective use of mission planning, crew resource management, proactive leadership and exceptional airmanship , the crew succeeded in preserving the lives of fellow Americans working to protect the nation’s assets and livelihood.

Chief Aviation Machinist Mate
Oliver Berry
Aviation Maintenance Award

AMT1 Frank Fontanez of Aviation Training Center Mobile

Award Summary

The Coast Guard Aviation Association annually presents the Chief Aviation Machinist Mate Oliver F. Berry Aviation Maintenance Award to an aviation technician who has demonstrated exceptional performance and enhanced the overall quality of Coast Guard aviation maintenance.

Nomination Summary

Demonstrating exceptional leadership, superb technical expertise and professionalism, AMT1 Fontanez was a key in the ATC aviation engineering division as HC-144A night check supervisor, quality assurance inspector and watch captain. His relentless work ethic, propensity to master new aircraft systems, and significant efforts mentoring and leading the workforce proved invaluable to the sustained high level of readiness of the Coast Guard inaugural HC-144A air facility. AMT1 Fontanez was selected for this award from a group of twenty-two nominations of highly skilled and dedicated professional technicians from across Coast Guard aviation, a testament to the talent, character and devotion of the Coast Guard aviation maintenance workforce.