A Project of the Coast Guard Aviation Association

About The CGAA


The Coast Guard Aviation Association

The Ancient Order of the Pterodactyl

The CGAA is dedicated to the support of the men, women, and families making up Coast Guard Aviation.

The Coast Guard Aviation Association puts an emphasis on the recognition of individuals and aircrews who distinguish themselves in the performance of operational missions and critical support. Additionally, the organization is committed to the preservation of Coast Guard Aviation history from its earliest period to present day. In times of urgent need, the CGAA supports families affected by losses in flight operations.

The CGAA is a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization that uses donations to accomplish its core commitments. The TIN for tax-deductible donation is 33-0161887.

To donate, send contributions to:

Coast Guard Aviation Association
P.O. Box 940
Troy, VA 22974-0940

Or visit the Coast Guard Aviation Association Website

CGAA/Pterodactyl Accomplishments


  • The Ancient Order initiated what would become a perpetual support for the Coast Guard exhibit at the Naval Air Museum in Pensacola, Florida. This included a $100,000 pledge to the museum and a search for materials to go into the exhibit. The pledge was met in 1983. In 1993 an additional pledge of $50,000 was made. Periodic donations have continued through the years.


  • HO3S-1G CGNR 235 ; J4F  CGNR V212 and JRF-3 CGNR V190 aircraft in Coast Guard markings added to main floor display at the Naval Air Museum. HU-16E CGNR 7236 was displayed in the exterior display area.


  • Project to provision the conference and training spaces of the Aviation Training Center at Mobile with historical content to provide an inspirational atmosphere for Coast Guard aviators undergoing training was begun. The Coast Guard Aviation Hall of fame, later to be named more appropriately the Coast Guard Hall of Honor, was established. To date there have been twenty one inductions with appropriate recognition.


  • An initial framework was established to collect and assemble historical data into an accurate store of information for use in the perpetuation of Coast Guard Aviation history. By doing so the Ancient Order in effect voluntarily assumed the role of historical society for Coast Guard Aviation.


  • HH-52A CGNR 1355 was officially placed in the Naval Air Museum.
  • An official Pterodactyl Representative was appointed to the Naval Air Museum for the purpose of consulting with the Museum management on the content and usage of Pterodactyl contributions to the Coast Guard exhibit.
  • A Coast Guard Aviator numbering system for all Coast Guard pilots was reinstituted and resumed retroactively from the point it had been halted in 1974.
  • The Coast Guard officially designated the occupant of the billet of Chief OAV (now 711) at HQ to act as HQ liaison with the Ancient Order of Pterodactyls. (now known as the Coast Guard Aviation Association ) 


  • Under the sponsorship of the Ancient Order a monument commemorating the first permanent Coast Guard Air Station was unveiled and dedicated on the Gloucester, Massachusetts waterfront overlooking the original site on Ten Pound Island.


  • Through the courtesy of Sikorsky Aircraft the Ancient Albatross trophy was presented to be displayed in the Naval Air Museum.
  • Upgrade of Coast Guard Aviation exhibits in the Naval Air Museum and a Coast Guard HNS-1 BUNO 39047 aircraft in WWII Coast Guard markings was added to the exhibit.
  • Through the courtesy of Grumman Aircraft Corporation, the Enlisted Ancient Albatross trophy was presented to be displayed in the Naval Air Museum.
  • HH-3F CGNR 1486 was officially placed in the Naval Air Museum


  • HO4S CGNR 1258 was restored and placed in the Naval Air Museum. The restoration project was sponsored by Pterodactyl Dan Dorini.


  • The Ancient Order contributed to the establishment of a memorial at CGAS Humboldt Bay in remembrance of four crew members who lost their lives during a SAR mission.


  • A Coast Guard History Book containing Coast Guard History Summary, Ancient Order history and personal biographies of individual members was published.
  • The Ancient Order initiated sponsorship and funding for the “ Captain Marion “Gus” Shrode Aviation Award” which is given annually for exceptional aviation safety professionalism was commenced


  • An Initial grant was provided in support of the United States Coast Guard Academy Aviation Club. Financial support was/is provided on a continuing basis.
  • The Ancient order initiated sponsorship and funding for two rescue awards to be given annually, one for a fixed wing crew and one for a rotary wing crew. An aircrew in each category is selected by the Commandant as the rescue crew of the year. To merit the award the acts or performance of the rescue mission must be accomplished in a manner above that to be normally expected. The Rotary wing award is known as “The Captain Frank A. Erickson Aviation Crew Rescue Award.” The fixed wing award is known as ‘The Commander Elmer F. Stone Crew Rescue Award.” 


  • The Ancient Order assisted in the fund raising and historical research efforts to erect an Aviation Memorial honoring all those who have perished while flying missions in Coast Guard Aircraft. The Ancient order plus individual Pterodactyls donated.


  • The Ancient Order applied for and obtained 501 (3) C tax exempt status to facilitate future operations. This was/is of great significance in obtaining material and financial support enabling an expansion of efforts. The Official name for the organization became the Coast Guard Aviation Association (CGAA). The membership has continued to refer to themselves as Pterodactyls.


  • The CGAA Donated maintenance funds to the USS Alabama Battleship Memorial Park Mobile, Alabama for HH-52A CGNR 1378 and HU-16E CGNR 2129. The donation of funds were/are periodically continued. Appearance upkeep of Coast Guard aircraft are aided substantially by volunteer efforts contributed by retired and active duty personnel in the area.


  • A project was undertaken to develop an electronic repository of Coast Guard Aviation History to be developed and maintained by the Ancient order. Information, data, and photos were/are available to all on an Ancient Order website. This project is ongoing and has become extensive in content.
  • A chronological History of Coast Guard Aviation was begun. The presentation is a chronological digest. It is designed to fully facilitate an interactive kiosk presentation and/or electronic reproduction. Although not a detailed treatise of all aspects of Coast Guard Aviation activities, technical developments, and administrative changes, it is a definitive history. The purpose was/is to make this a first-source document that people use when they are looking for definitive information on Coast Guard Aviation. This was initially completed in 2010 and is continuously updated and edited. Over 9000 hours have been put into this project by Pterodactyl John “Bear” Moseley who is the CGAA historian.
  • The Ancient Order Donated funds towards the establishment of two Vietnam Veterans monuments. One to be placed at the Cape May Training Center in New Jersey and one to be placed at the Coast Guard Academy. 
  • The Coast Guard Aviation Maintenance award – was established and is presented annually. This award recognizes an enlisted aviation maintenance individual who has demonstrated exceptional performance and enhanced the overall quality of Coast Guard aviation maintenance. In 2007 it was named “The Chief Aviation Machinist Mate Oliver F. Berry Award.”


  • An RD4 -2 Dolphin CGNR 128 was restored in Coast Guard colors and placed in the Naval Air Museum. The CGAA donated $11.000 for the restoration.
  • Over 100 Pterodactyl members contributed $28,000 plus to be used for the Coast Guard Pylon at the Monument of a Century of Flight at Kitty Hawk, North Carolina.
  • The story of the participation of US Coast Guard Aviation personnel in combat rescue and recovery operations during the Vietnam Conflict was researched and published. These highly decorated, members of the Jolly Greens were inducted into the Coast Guard Aviation Hall of Honor and were recognized by the Ancient Order at the annual Roost. Each member received a personal letter from the Commandant of the Coast Guard attesting to their achievement.


  • The Coast Guard Aviation Roll of Valor was established. Awards for Valor by precedence, Silver Life Saving and above, awarded to Coast Guard aviation personnel are listed and the citation reproduced. The roll is electronically presented, may be copied and is ongoing.
  • Over 100 Coast Guard Air Station Patches –new and Old – were solicited and obtained for a Coast Guard Museum display in New London Connecticut.
  • Individual Pterodactyls contributed more than $37,000 to Coast Guard Mutual Assistance Fund to be used to assist Coast Guard members and family impacted by Hurricane Katrina.
  • Coast Guard Aviators that flew with the USAF Jolly Green Giants air rescue forces inducted into The Coast Guard Hall of Honor. The Commandant of the Coast Guard personally recognized each aviator.


  • Three HH-52A airframes were obtained from storage at the Army facilities at Aberdeen Maryland and transported to AR&SC Elizabeth city for restoration. The aircraft will need extensive work to bring them up to display standards.
  • The first 50 of a planned 500 Service records of early Coast Guard Aviators (deceased) were obtained through proper channels from the Archives in St. Louis. Data saved in early service records was much more extensive than at present. This will be of significant help in the discovery and recording of early Coast Guard Aviation History. This was/is done in conjunction with the Coast Guard Historian.


  • Researched, requested, and arranged a ceremony for the presentation of the Legion of Merit awarded to Captain Sam Martin US Army Medical Corps for his outstanding accomplishments during the rescue of survivors of the Sabena Airlines Crash in Newfoundland Canada, in 1946. This was the first large scale rescue performed by helicopters.      
  • The First of two paintings commissioned as an opportunity to depict Coast Guard Aviation “on the walls” of the Coast Guard Academy. The viewers will not only include Academy cadets and graduates but also direct commissioned Officers, Officer Candidates, senior enlisted personnel as well as parents and friends.  The first painting depicted the Olo Yumi helicopter rescue which took place during the large Cuban migration known as the  Mariel Boatlift of 1980
  • Under the leadership of a group of Pterodactyls a Coast Guard Aviation exhibit titled “US Coast Guard America’s Maritime Guardian” was begun and will be part of the Aerospace Museum of California in Sacramento.  The first of a series of $5000 grants were provided as well as individual donations by Pterodactyls. HU-16E 7209 is part of the outside exhibit and has been restored to mint condition by dedicated Coasties and friends. The Ancient Order provides annual support for the Coast Guard display.


  • An Ancient Albatross Hall, a tribute to the Ancient Albatrosses of the Coast Guard was completed by CGAS Miami with Pterodactyl assistance
  • Historical background and data were provided to the Academy Class of 1962 for their dedicated painting depicting Coast Guard Aviators flying Combat Rescue during the Vietnam War. This was the first of many ongoing formal requests for Coast Guard aviation history as provided by the established historical repository. The Pterodactyls have become recognized as an initial source of Coast Guard aviation history.
  • Master Chief Aviation Survivalman Larry E. Farmer, and, posthumously, Chief Aviation Machinist Mate Chief Oliver F. Berry were inducted into the Coast Guard Aviation Hall of Honor.
  • A Coast Guard Heritage Tour, taking place at Arlington National Cemetery, was organized and conducted by the Ancient Order for those attending the Commanding Officers Conference. It was repeated again in 2010 by request.
  • Commissioned an intern historian to extensively research and compile a master Index of all information related to Coast Guard Aviation contained within the collection at the Naval Air Museum Archives.


  • 30th-anniversary memorial ceremony of HH-3F 1432 loss (CGAS Cape Cod, February 18, 2009)
  • The second painting commissioned as part of the opportunity to display Coast Guard Aviation at the Academy was completed and dedicated. It depicted the Hurricane Katrina operations.
  • Extensive historical information, data, photos, and consultation were provided to the Museum of the Albemarle to assist them in establishing a Coast Guard Aviation section in the museum. The Ancient order also provided interface and liaison with active duty Coast Guard personnel and with representatives of germane corporate entities which also provided assistance. It was an extensive project over a nine month period.  The end product produced by the Albemarle Museum, named “Out of the Blue/Coast Guard Aviation” was recognized as outstanding.
  • The Ancient Order funded and Pterodactyl Bob Workman spent many hours building large museum quality models of the NC-4, MF Flying boat and presently working on the C-130. All aircraft will be initially displayed at the Museum of the Albemarle. In addition, a C-130 model has been constructed and donated to the Aerospace Museum of California.
  • An HH52A helicopter in relatively good condition was located, purchased, and commercially transported to ALC Elizabeth City for restoration. This helicopter with dedicated work was brought up to museum standards. When completed this aircraft was scheduled to be placed in the Smithsonian Air and Space Udar-Hazy facility. The CGAA was the driving force behind the project. On April 14, 2016, the Smithsonian Institution’s National Air and Space Museum, the nation’s premier steward of aviation heritage, unveiled its first aircraft from the U.S. Coast Guard — The HH-52A helicopter, tail number 1426. It is the first Coast Guard aircraft displayed in the Smithsonian.
  • Individual Pterodactyls contributed significant funding to support the Jack Columbus Rittichier Memorial at Kent State University. Rittichier, a graduate of Kent State was KIA while flying a rescue mission during the Vietnam War. This project was spearheaded by Pterodactyl Jim Loomis; one of the Coast Guard Jolly green pilots. CCGD 9 Chief of Staff, RADM David Callahan represented the Coast Guard for the monument unveiling last fall.
  • Dedication of the Air Station Barbers Point Memorial took place. The memorial is dedicated to the aircrews of HH-65A 6505 which was lost 4 September 2008 and HH-52A 1420 who were lost on 7 January 1982. CGAA contributed $8,000 via Coast Guard Foundation to the families of the 6505 victims in order to permit them to attend the memorial dedication on the first anniversary of the accident.  In addition, CGAA acted as a “pass through” conduit, sponsoring a website collecting donations through a “Buy a Brick” promotion to fund the walkway to the memorial site.  CGAS Barbers Point arranged for Navy Sea Bees to prepare the walkway and site.  The CGAS BARPT Project Officer, LCDR Dan Long, supervised the construction of the lava rock wall, and installation of a bronze compass rose, helmet and boots.  CGAA paid out monies collected from brick sales and after the dedication on September 4, 2009, transferred ownership of the memorial to Commander, 14th Coast Guard District with the understanding the memorial would be maintained in perpetuity.  A memorial project to honor the crew of HC-130H 1705 is at CGAS Sacramento. 
  • Hosting USCGA summer cadets to dinner at pterodactyl homes at Elizabeth City, NC
  • Participated and assisted in the 75th Anniversary celebration of CGAS Salem located on Winter Island conducted by the Winter Island Park Authority. The Authority indicated that further discussions with the CGAA as to the possibility of converting the Salem hangar into a Coast Guard Aviation museum and display area. This, if funding can be obtained, would be an outstanding project.
  • CDR Frank Shelley USCG (ret) was inducted into the Coast Guard Aviation Hall of Honor, for his history making role in the development and acceptance of the HH-52A helicopter. This helicopter in addition to saving thousands of lives is responsible for the full acceptance of the helicopter today as the primary life saving vehicle.


  • Pterodactyl members individually and the CGAA contributed over $11,000 to the Coast Guard  Foundation financial disaster fund for the families of the CG 1705 accident.
  • At the request of the RFMC, the Coast Guard Aviation Association presented at the Leading chief Petty Officers Conference held in San Antonio Texas. The subject was The CGAA and what they can/are doing for the LCPO, aviation enlisted and Coast Guard Aviation as a whole. It was very well received
  • The 25th-anniversary celebration of the Coast Guard Rescue Swimmers took place.  The Ancient Order was strongly committed to assisting and was one of the sponsors.  It also acted as a pass-through agency to receive other sponsor donations and coordinate payment. CGAA Treasurer Ben Stoppe enabled this function. Coordination with Bryan Snuffer, an artist that does Coast Guard paintings, resulted in the funding of a “25th Anniversary print to every attendee.
  • A Letter of Agreement was executed with the Association of Naval Aviation after they graciously made any sons and daughters of Naval Aviators and Navy, Marine Corps and Coast Guard Aircrewmen who died while on active duty serving in the United States Navy, the United States Marine Corps or United States Coast Guard eligible for scholarship assistance.  The Executive Board approved a donation of $1,000 per year.
  • CGAA assisted the Chief Petty Officers at CGAS Clearwater in acquiring HU-16E  0-17176 from the USAF.  The aircraft was on display at the Pate Aviation Museum in Ft. Worth.  After the elder Mr. Pate passed away, the family decided to close the museum.  CGAA contacted the curator at the National Museum of the Air Force at Wright-Patterson AFB, OH and arranged to transfer ownership of the non-airworthy aircraft to the CO of CGAS Clearwater.  CGAA paid per diem and travel expenses for 4 senior and Chief Petty Officers who traveled on permissive orders to Ft. Worth and disassembled the aircraft under the supervision of an experienced salver.  An anonymous benefactor paid half of the overland shipping charges to get the fuselage, center and outer wing sections, engines, nacelles, props, and empennage to CGAS Clearwater, where the aircraft is being reassembled and painted as CGNR 1023, a sister ship assigned to CGAS St, Petersburg when HU-16E 1240 was lost in 1967 during a night search in the Gulf of Mexico.  CGAA paid the remaining $6,500 in flat bed shipping charges, and another anonymous donor paid $1,000 in oversize shipping charges to get the aircraft to Clearwater.
  • CGAA contributed $1,000 to help the “Colorado Coasties” re-paint HC-131A 5794 at the Weisbrod Aviation Museum, Pueblo, CO.


  • The restoration of HH-52A CGNR 1415 was completed by a crew of Air Station personnel and displayed at the Seattle Museum of Flight.
  • The HC-130 CGNR 1705 Memorial was dedicated at Air Station Sacramento on the second anniversary of the loss.
  • MH-65C crashed in Mobile Bay, Alabama with the loss of all crew members. The CGAA made a $5000 donation to the Coast Guard Foundation Fund designated for the immediate needs of the families.


  • Worked with the Coast Guard Historian to develop a course of instruction for The Coast Guard Academy Cadets pertaining to the heritage history of the Coast Guard. The CGAA Chronological History of Coast Guard Aviation History project was provided.


  • Financed the repainting of Coast Guard HU-16E CGNR 2129 located in Mobile, Alabama Battleship Park.
  • The Victor Rouland Rescue Swimmer Lifetime Achievement Award was established and funded.


  • The Coast Guard Display at the Naval Air Museum was updated and expanded.
  • Pterodactyl Bob Workman completed a large model of a Coast Guard P5M-2G aircraft for display at the to be constructed Coast Guard Museum at New London Connecticut. It took him four and one-half years to make drawings, molds, and construct the aircraft model.


  • Fully participatory in the yearlong celebration of the Centennial of Coast Guard Aviation. The CGAA supported several events and sponsored the Centennial Website. The CGAA Historian wrote a bi-weekly blog covering interesting and informative aspects of Coast Guard Aviation.
  • Supported and participated in the Naval Aviation Museum Foundation’s 29th annual symposium  honoring Coast Guard Aviation, Participants were Pterodactyls VADM John Currier, Bob Workman, Tom Beard, John “Bear” Moseley, and Captain Joe Kimball (711). In addition, there was Coast Guard Historian Scott Price and Sergei Sikorsky of Sikorsky Aircraft.
  • Pterodactyl Tom Beard CG aviator 1104, received the Naval Aviation Museum Foundation 2016 Arthur W. Radford Award for Excellence in Naval Aviation History and Literature.
  • On April 14, 2015, over 250 current and former Coast Guard Aviators, crewmen, and spouses proudly gathered at the Udar-Hazy Smithsonian National Air & Space Museum, the shrine of aviation, to celebrate the addition of HH-52A CGNR 1426 to its hallowed halls. This was an eleven-year effort spearheaded by Pterodactyls RADM Bob Johanson and former President of the CGAA Captain Mont Smith, supported by numerous other Pterodactyls. The CGAA funded over $230,000 cost of restoration. At The ceremony Pterodactyl CDR Frank Shelley, CG Aviator 633, was presented with the Legion of Merit awarded for his “outstanding meritorious service as the HH-52A Program Manager for the test, evaluation, training procedures, and the acceptance and deployment of the HH-52A. Helicopter.”  The HH-52A is credited with saving more lives than any other helicopter to date. It is the first and only Coast Guard aircraft, to date, enshrined in the Udar-Hazy Smithsonian National Air and Space Museum.

Note:  Historical data and information has been provided by the CGAA and its members for the following books and publications.

    • Wonderful Flying Machines (Tom Beard)
    • Grumman Albatross (Wayne Mutza) 
    • H-60 series helicopters (Wayne Mutza)
    • HH-52 History (Lennart Lundh)
    • USCG Aviation (Robert Dorr)
    • The Coast Guard (Tom Beard )
    • So Others May Live ( Martha LaGuardia)
    • CGAS Elizabeth City Photo History
    • CGAS San Diego Photo History
    • Float Planes and Flying Boats (Robert Workman)