The Coast Guard's Cape May Training Center is getting a new monument: the service's only memorial dedicated to enlisted men and women who have died in the line of duty.
Coast Guard Commandant Adm. Karl Schultz will join the center's commanding officer, Capt. Owen Gibbons, in dedicating the Coast Guard Enlisted Memorial on Saturday in New Jersey.
The memorial -- three granite walls etched with the names of 1,500 service members, centered around a pyramid topped with a bronze flame -- is located on the training center's parade field.
Schultz said the service members on the monument are "forever woven into the fabric of Coast Guard history."
"Being a Coast Guardsman is more than a uniform or an emblem, it's a devotion to a higher calling and a willingness to protect and defend our nation and its people at any cost," Schultz said.
Names on the memorial date to 1915, the year the Revenue Cutter Service and U.S. Life Saving Service merged to form the U.S. Coast Guard. They include those who selflessly gave their lives in service, such as Boy First Class James Joseph Nevins, a member of the USS Seneca crew who died Sept. 16, 1918, after rescuing personnel aboard the sinking British tanker SS Wellington, and Senior Chief Boatswain's Mate Terrell Horne, who died Dec. 2, 2012, killed by drug smugglers during a law enforcement operation off the California coast.
Other notable honorees on the memorial include:
- Seaman Apprentice William Flores and 21 crewmates of the Seagoing Buoy Tender Blackthorn, who died Jan. 28, 1980, when the ship struck the tanker SS Capricorn. Flores, just 18, stayed on board as the vessel capsized, distributing life vests and even giving his own away. He received the Coast Guard medal posthumously for his heroism.
- The 107 enlisted men on board the Weather Ship USCGC Muskeget, killed Sept. 9, 1942, when the ship was struck by a German U-boat 400 nautical miles east of Newfoundland. The wreckage was never found.
- Aviation Electronics Technician Matthew Howard Baker, who, along with three officers, lost his life Aug. 24, 1990, when their E-2C Hawkeye, returning from a counter-narcotics patrol, crashed 500 yards short of the runway at Roosevelt Roads Naval Station, Puerto Rico. The crew had reported a fire in the aircraft and problems with the hydraulics.
The memorial cost roughly $450,000, raised entirely through private donations by the Coast Guard Enlisted Memorial Foundation.
It includes the names of warrant officers who died in the line of duty. Coast Guard Academy officers who died on active duty are honored at the academy in New London, Connecticut, according to the foundation.
A memorial to the Coast Guard also stands in Arlington National Cemetery, Virginia, built in honor of the crew of the Seneca and the Coast Guard cutter Tampa, which also sank after being struck by a U-boat, 10 days after the Seneca. All 131 personnel on the ship died.
The dedication ceremony for the Coast Guard Enlisted Memorial will take place at 11 a.m.