The Long Blue Line: Lt. Cmdr. Frank Erickson – Coast Guard pioneer of helicopter flight

By Beth L. Crumley U.S. Coast Guard Assistant Historian Just over 75 years ago, Lt. Cmdr. Frank A. Erickson flew the first helicopter rescue mission in history, ushering in a new era in search and rescue techniques. Born in Portland, Oregon, Erickson served in the Navy before enlisting in the U.S. Coast Guard. He received an appointment to the Coast Guard Academy and was commissioned in 1931. While at the Academy, Erickson developed a passionate interest in the techniques of search and rescue and, on May 14, 1935, became Coast…

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