Four years ago, on July 7, 2010, a Coast Guard Air Station Sitka helicopter crashed off the coast of La Push, Washington, taking the lives of the aircraft’s commander and two crewmen.
The helicopter’s co-pilot, Lt. Lance Leone, was injured, but survived. Although he was not at the controls when the aircraft went down, Leone was charged and tried in a military court. Following his acquittal, however, Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano — on the advice of the commandant of the Coast Guard — refused to recommend Leone for promotion, effectively ending the young pilot’s career.
The deaths of the Sitka airmen were three of 14 fatalities in the Coast Guard in a two-year period. Late last month, the Center for Investigative Reporting released an in-depth story examining the culture of safety — and accountability — in the Coast Guard.
The following excerpt is from the Center for Investigative Reporting’s radio news magazine Reveal.
Read the full story from the CIR’s G.W. Shulz.
You can listen to the full hour of Reveal here, or tune in KCAW for a special broadcast of this program at 4 PM on Sunday, July 13.
You can learn more about Lt. Lance Leone and the crash of CG6017 in previous reporting by KCAW, including a 3-part interview.