Seahawk Down, Five Brave Souls Lost

seahawk-helicopter-crash-into-seaOn Tuesday, May 19, an HH-60 Seahawk helicopter went down off the coast of Southern California while conducting training operations with USS Nimitz (CVN 68).The helicopter was from Helicopter Anti-submarine Squadron (HS) 6 located in San Diego. HS 6 is part of Carrier Air Wing 11 assigned to the Nimitz Carrier Strike Group.

A friend of mine, the mother of one of my daughter’s high school classmates, sent me the following e-mail from her childhood friend, Nancy Morishita. It’s only fitting that I post Nancy’s e-mail on Memorial Day as a reminder of the sacrifice of so many brave souls in our military. May our prayers protect and comfort those who are serving our country. 

Many of you are aware but some may not be, a [Seahawk] helicopter off the USS Nimitz crashed on Tuesday night [May 19] while on training maneuvers just off the coast of San Diego. There were 5 crew, (pilot and rescue swimmers), on board and all of them were lost. The reason I am writing to you is that my son Tash (short for Tadashi) is a member of the same rescue swimmer unit and was sent to the crash site to try to rescue any possible survivors. The Coast Guard was called as well as the Mexican Navy and the boys were then sent back to the ship. To date they have recovered 3 of the bodies and are still searching for the last 2.

I am one of the lucky mothers but there are 5 families that have suffered a great loss. Tash has lost 5 of his friends.  In his e-mails to me he has asked that I pass this one request on to my friends. Most of us spend Memorial Day having a good time with our families and friends and enjoying that freedom that those kids have helped us to keep, I have spent my life doing just the same. His request is small but so very important. Please take a moment on Monday, if not every day, to give a little thanks for those who work so hard to keep us safe and to protect everything we hold dear.

I am very proud of my son.


Here is the e-mail from Tash to his mother (Tash also left a comment at the end of this blog post):

hey mom.  still living it day by day, even though it still feels like one long day.  if you can do our friends a favor, and just pass on to anyone having a get together, or anyone you think you should tell, that for the upcoming memorial day, to take a moment, and just….well, you know.  a lot of people are still around because of guys like my friends, so, just a silent thank you if anything.  i gotta go to work.  i love you mom, thanks



Tash Morishita with his older brother Mischa on his right and his twin sister Mallory

Click here to see all my posts related to the military.


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6 Responses to “Seahawk Down, Five Brave Souls Lost”

  1. Valerie Newkirk Says:

    Hi Phil! Thank you so much for sharing this. My family did not do the “party thing” on Memorial Day as I was growing up. We went to the cemetaries to put flowers on the graves of loved ones, and to honor those who served in the military, family members or not, while Mom and Grandma gave us the yearly family history lesson. I treasure those days and still try to go home for Memorial Day as often as possible. It’s hard to believe, but now I’m the one teaching the family history to MY grandchildren!

  2. Phil Bolsta Says:

    Glad you’re passing on the lessons, Val!

  3. AW3 Tadashi "Tash" Morishita Says:

    Thank you so much Phil, for publishing this blog on your website.
    One small thing, just to clear any confusion; I wasn’t part of the same excercise that night, however, I was the swimmer on the crew that was sent on alert to the scene.
    We, the squadron and families, have recieved an amount of support from so many people that any amount of gratitude is hardly enough to show how we feel. So to everyone that took this past Memorial Day, or any day, to think about us, people like my 5 friends, that put all on the line to keep our friends and families back home safe, Thank You, from the bottom of my heart. And I know, that if they could, the 5 of Indian 617 would show their gratitude too.
    One small thing to leave everyone with: Our motto, why we do our job, we do what we do, “…so other may live”.

    AW3 Tadashi “Tokyo” Morishita
    HS-6 Screamin’ Indians

  4. Phil Bolsta Says:

    Thanks so much for leaving a comment, Tash. I edited your mom’s email to reflect your correction.

    Above all, thank you to you and your squadron for serving our country. I bow to you in gratitude.

  5. Jackie Says:

    Thank you to Phil and Tash, for reminding us of the fact that our lives are prosperous in part because of the sacrifices others made previously.

    It is true that most people use Memorial Day as an excuse to break in the new grill. This seems to be a pervasive part of American culture…that we easily compartmentalize or forget to reflect and give thanks.

    I lived about five blocks from Ground Zero in NYC for a few years and spent a lot of time down there. I found peace, comfort and strength in standing with the souls of hundreds of brave Americans who died that day. As I have a hard time understanding people who ignore the inherent significance of Memorial Day, I had a hard time understanding tourists who would come to Ground Zero and briefly pose for smiling family photos, then move on to the Statue of Liberty.

    Tash, I think of you and your friends often, regardless of the calendar-marked Memorial Day. Thank you from the bottom of my heart for all that you do. Thank you.

  6. Phil Bolsta Says:

    Well said, Jackie. Thank you.

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