MOBILE, Ala. (WALA) - Eight months after a deadly Coast Guard training mishap, work has begun on a memorial in honor of the fallen crew men.
The site is at the Aviation Training Center in Mobile.
Pilot Lt. Cmdr. Dale Taylor, co-pilot Lt. j.g. Thomas Cameron, rescue swimmer Chief Petty Officer Fernando Jorge, and flight mechanic Petty Officer 3rd Class Andrew "Drew" Knight will be honored in a granite memorial at the Center.
The Coast Guardsmen were killed when their helicopter went down in Mobile Bay in a training exercise.
Aviation Training Center Mobile Captain Thurman Maine will never forget the search and grief that followed.
"It still hurts eight months later, and we're still healing. We're moving forward," said Maine.
Maine said they are moving forward in honor of the fallen crew. In September, their names were added to the U.S. Coast Guard Aviation Memorial in North Carolina. Soon they will be honored at their home base in Mobile.
"Once we picked the spot, I have been down here several times envisioning what it will be like," said Maine.
The main focus of the monument will be under a large oak tree. It will feature an inscription about each crewman. The site is positioned between the dorms and where students train.
"Each one of these students that comes here, whether it's for a week, for six or eight weeks, comes down this path twice a day," said Maine.
Maine said the memorial will be a reminder of what those in the Coast Guard sacrifice, and a special reminder to those in training.
"It's a reminder to these students that they need to be very particular and proficient as Coast Guard aviators, and that they are following heroes," said Maine.
A lot has happened in the months following the crash, but one thing everyone still wants to know is exactly what happened.
Maine said the investigations into the crash are almost complete, and they have made some adjustments according to what they have learned.
"We made a change or two in some of our training emphasis around here," said Maine.
Thirty years ago the base lost another crew. Their memorial will be moved to accompany that of Coast Guard flight 6535.
Maine hopes to have it in place for the one year anniversary of the crash.
The memorial it is being made possible through private donations. Donations may be made through the Coast Guard foundation or you can purchase a memorial brick.
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