A ceremony held in Sherill Park, Corpus Christi marked the 45th anniversary of the deaths of six men on September 21, 1973 as the result of an accidentally dropped flare inside a Coast Guard aircraft during a search and rescue operation. The flare ignited the aircraft causing intense smoke which incapacitated the crew and the aircraft made an uncontrolled descent into the Gulf of Mexico off the coast of Mustang Island. A stone memorial is in Sherill Park with the names of the crew.
These names are also engraved on a plaque found on the north side of the Seaman’s Memorial Tower located in Conn Brown Harbor, Aransas Pass.
LCDR Francis W. Miller
LTJG Jerald M. Mack
AD1 Harold D. Brown, Jr.
AM2 Benjamin R. Gaskins, Jr.
AT2 John F. Harrison
AT2 John P. Pledger
Dedicated on May 6, 1970, the tall white tower was erected by residents as a place to honor seamen whose lives have been lost at sea on vessels which left from a local port area. In addition to the special commemorative inscription for the U. S. Coast Guard crew, two other plaques include the names of fishermen, shrimpers and other merchant mariners whose lives have been lost at sea.
Requests for names to be added to these memorials continue to be received by the Memorial Commission, City of Aransas Pass. A small chapel inside the tower invites visitors to spend time reflecting on the many lives lost at sea.