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Coast Guard to Honor Those Lost on the Blackthorn

Blackthorn Memorial | Coast Guard | Sunshine Skyway

The 37th annual memorial service for those lost on the Blackthorn will be held today (Jan. 27).

ST. PETERSBURG – The Coast Guard is scheduled to hold a memorial service today (Jan. 27) in remembrance of the lives lost during the Coast Guard Cutter Blackthorn collision.

Rear Adm. Scott A. Buschman, Coast Guard District Seven commander, Capt. Holly Najarian, Coast Guard Sector St. Petersburg commander, along with members from Coast Guard Sector St. Petersburg and surrounding units will honor the lives of Blackthorn’s fallen shipmates.

The service is scheduled for 2 p.m. in Blackthorn Memorial Park, off I-27 on the north side of the Sunshine Skyway bridge. The ceremony will consist of an aerial salute by aircraft from Coast Guard Air Station Clearwater, posting of the colors and a reading of all the lost crew members’ names.

The Coast Guard Cutter Blackthorn sank after a collision with the tanker vessel Capricorn near the Sunshine Skyway Bridge on Jan. 28, 1980. The Blackthorn lost 23 of its 50 crew members in what became the Coast Guard’s worst peacetime disaster. A memorial inscribed with the names of the crew members who perished now stands two miles north of the collision site.

The Blackthorn collision provided the impetus for the establishment of the Command and Operations School at the Coast Guard Academy in New London, CT. The school offers courses to prepare command-level officers and senior enlisted members for command duty afloat. Additionally, the Coast Guard developed new training requirements, invested in more safety equipment and made changes to the navigational aids in and around Tampa Bay.

For information about the Coast Guard, go to

Photo of the Blackthorn Memorial courtesy of the Coast Guard.

Coast Guard | Blackthorn | Blackthorn Memorial | Memorial Service | Sunshine Skyway | TB Reporter

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