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ACADEMICS
CAPT FRANK A. ERICKSON
CAPT Frank Erickson
2016 Wall of Gallantry - Capt Frank A. Erickson
Captain Erickson is cited for his outstanding service and is recognized for his pioneering efforts as the “father of military helicopters.”

In 1943, he became the first Coast Guard helicopter pilot and instructor (Coast Guard Helicopter Pilot No. 1), training 102 helicopter pilots and 225 mechanics. Captain Erickson conducted the first life-saving flight of a helicopter when he expertly flew two cases of blood plasma through exceptionally treacherous weather, saving the lives of Navy crewmen after the explosion of the USS Turner in New York Harbor.
 

In 1944, Captain Erickson performed the very first helicopter hoist pickups of a man in the water on August 14 and a man in a life raft on September 25.
 

In 1945, he was personally recognized by King George VI as an Honorary Member of the Military Division of the Most Excellent Order of the British Empire. That next year, he was awarded the Air Medal for piloting the helicopter that rescued 18 survivors of a horrific Belgium airliner crash in Newfoundland. Due to this outstanding display of airmanship and determination, Captain Erickson was also commissioned as a knight of the Order of Leopold in Brussels.
 

He went on to become the Chief of the Coast Guard Research and Development Center, as well as an advisor for projects such as Flight-Path Stabilizer, the NASA Gemini space craft hoist system, and the design of the flight deck of the 210-foot Reliance Class cutter.
 

Captain Erickson’s outstanding courage, exceptional knowledge, and unwavering devotion duty are in keeping with the highest traditions of the United States Coast Guard.