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Press Release | Jan. 25, 2024

MEDIA ADVISORY: Coast Guard to hold Blackthorn memorial service in Galveston, Texas

Coast Guard PADET Texas - Office: (281) 464-4810 / After Hours: (832) 293-1293

Editors' Note: Media interested in attending should RSVP no later than 5 p.m. on January 26 by calling (832) 293-1293 or emailing

WHAT: Coast Guard Base Galveston to host a memorial service commemorating the 44th anniversary of the sinking of Coast Guard Cutter Blackthorn

WHO: Coast Guard personnel from the Houston-Galveston area, friends and family of Cutter Blackthorn members

WHEN: 10 a.m., Sunday, Jan. 28, 2024

WHERE: Coast Guard Base Galveston, 3000 Fort Point Road, Galveston, TX 77550

HOUSTON — The Coast Guard is scheduled to host a Blackthorn memorial service in Galveston, Texas, Sunday.

The ceremony will commemorate the 44th anniversary of the sinking of Coast Guard Cutter Blackthorn and honor the 23 crew members who perished during the incident. 

Chief Warrant Officer 2 Christopher Winters, commanding officer of Coast Guard Cutter Harry Claiborne, will preside over the ceremony. Retired Capt. Michael Davanzo, former commanding officer of five Coast Guard cutters, will serve as guest speaker.

The ceremony will include a reading of the names of the deceased Blackthorn crew members and the tolling of a ship’s bell for each. Personnel from Coast Guard Sector Houston-Galveston, Base Galveston and cutters homeported in Galveston will lay 23 roses to honor each of the fallen crew members.

On Jan. 28, 1980, the Blackthorn sank after colliding with the tanker vessel Capricorn near the Sunshine Skyway Bridge in Tampa, Florida. The Blackthorn, which was homeported in Galveston, Texas, lost 23 of its 50 crew members in the Coast Guard’s worst peacetime disaster. Memorials inscribed with the names of the crew members who perished stand 2 miles north of the collision site and on Base Galveston. 

The Blackthorn collision prompted the establishment of the Command and Operations School at the Coast Guard Academy in New London, Connecticut. 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.

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