MCAS Beaufort --
In honor of Hospitalman 1st Class Kevin Frank, Marines with
Marine Aviation Logistics Squadron 31 corossion control, assisted in the
rededication of the Air Station’s display CH-46 Sea Knight helicopter.
Frank served aboard Fightertown as a corpsman attached to
the Search and Rescue unit which was decommissioned on April 15, 2005.
The unit’s mission was to provide rapid search and rescue
operations, medical evacuations, downed pilot recoveries, aerial photography,
VIP transport and missing person searches among other things.
On March 9, 2002, Frank was aboard a CH-46 with Marines
conducting a rescue mission to save victims of a boating accident. During the
flight, a malfunction with the aircraft caused the pilot to lose control
and crash into the water. All members of the crew survived the crash except
The CH-46 displayed aboard the Air Station was once active
with the SAR unit. It was repainted in June, covering the original dedication
The new dedication includes the Navy’s Aviation Warfare
Specialist device and Fleet Marine Force device above the sailor’s name.
“It’s important to do things like this because it honors
someone who paid the ultimate sacrifice while saving the life of others,” said
Sgt. Robert Wilkes, MALS-31 corrosion control facility noncommissioned officer-in-charge.
Staff Sgt. John Partridge, MALS-31 corrosion control
facility staff non-commissioned officer-in-charge, created the graphics for the
devices and the final product with help from Marines in his facility.
The graphics include the Naval and Coast Guard Aircrew badge
and Fleet Marine Force device above the corpsman’s name.
“To be able to put someone’s name on an aircraft allows them
to live forever and to be known for what they represent, it’s a tradition that
continues to this day,” said Partridge, a native of Buffalo, N.Y.
Names typically painted on aircraft include plane captains,
pilots, sergeants major, executive officers and commanding officers and
sometimes even those chosen as a Marine of the quarter.
“Those who served before us have created the Corps we are a
part of today and without their sacrifices there probably wouldn’t be a Marine
Corps,” said Wilkes, a native of Beaufort.