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Memorial service held for crew of Coast Guard Cutter White Alder

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Posted at 3:37 PM, Dec 07, 2020
and last updated 2020-12-07 16:37:21-05

Members of Marine Safety Unit Baton Rouge held a memorial and wreath laying ceremony Monday to mark the anniversary of the sinking of the Coast Guard Cutter White Alder.

It's been 52 years since the White Alder and the Motor Vessel Helena, a 455-foot Taiwanese flagged freighter, collided in the Mississippi River near Bayou Goula Bend Dec. 7, 1968. The cutter sank in 75 feet of water. Three of its 20-person crew were rescued, while the other 17 perished. The remaining crew members are entombed in the sunken cutter at the bottom of the Mississippi to this day.

White Alder was homeported in New Orleans from 1947 until 1968. The cutter's primary responsibility was to tend river aids to navigation and to conduct search and rescue and law enforcement duties, when required.

A special aids to navigation structure was built in honor of the crew and marks the location of the sunken vessel near White Castle, Louisiana. December 7 every year, Coast Guardsmen and surviving family members gather at the site in remembrance of those who lost their lives.

There also was a ceremony at the USS Kidd Veterans Museum in Baton Rouge.

Here are some photos from the ceremonies: