New London, Conn. – The Coast Guard Academy Men’s Lacrosse Team will conduct its traditional goal flag remembrance ceremony at Cadet Memorial Field prior to the first home game against the University of Rhode Island on Wednesday, 20 March at 6:00 PM. The ceremony is open to the public and serves to formally recognize the ultimate sacrifices made by Coast Guard Academy graduates. The ceremony will occur before the game and two commemorative flags will be attached to the goals. They will be displayed at every home game throughout the season.
The navy blue flag with 61 white stars commemorates Captain Thomas D. Nelson as the 61st name on the WALL OF REMEMBRANCE which honors Academy graduates who have perished while carrying out operational missions. In September 2008, Coast Guard lacrosse player Captain Thomas D. Nelson, Class of 1988, was added as the 61st name on that list after he perished aboard Coast Guard MH-65C helicopter 6505 off the coast of Hawaii. Teammate and classmate Captain Nick Bartolotta remembers Captain Nelson as a, “dominant defender who loved to clear the crease.” The Coast Guard Academy Men’s Lacrosse team is also wearing orange away uniforms (Coast Guard MH-65Cs have an orange paint scheme) this year to honor Captain Nelson and the 6505 crew that included Lieutenant Commander Andrew Wischmeier, AST1 David Skimin and AMT2 Joshua Nichols.
The white flag has the initials JMS and the Class of 1983 crest to commemorate Lieutenant John M. Senyard ’83 for his contributions to the Coast Guard Lacrosse program. John Senyard was one of the key figures in the founding of the Coast Guard Academy Lacrosse team. A member of the Coast Guard Academy Class of 1983, John was a Baltimore kid that grew up with an intense love for the game of lacrosse. As a cadet, John was often seen roaming the decks of Bravo Company in Chase Hall (the cadet barracks) with a lacrosse stick in hand. He attempted on several occasions to start a Men’s Lacrosse team.
His persistence and example to junior cadets sparked the launch of the Men’s Lacrosse team during the spring following his graduation. One of those junior cadets, Charlie Turner, CGA ‘86, remarked “I’m convinced that the Coast Guard Academy Lacrosse program would never have come to fruition without John Senyard. We underclassmen were emboldened by a small, but loyal group of seniors who kept playing lacrosse because of John.” Unfortunately, Lieutenant Senyard was not able to witness the Men’s Lacrosse team grow into the highly competitive team that exists today. He was killed in an aircraft accident while conducting a humanitarian service project in Ilhithi, Kenya in 1989.
“This humbling annual event reminds us of the true reason why these young men and women are here, to prepare for service to others, and in the Coast Guard, that service happens to occur in an unforgiving and often dangerous environment,” Lieutenant Commander Dan Ursino, Assistant Lacrosse Coach and Faculty Advisor. “In May, the seniors on the field will be stepping forward to serve, and possibly go into harm’s way. This ceremony reminds them of their link to the operational service.”
Media are welcomed and encouraged to attend the ceremony. For further information, please contact the U.S. Coast Guard Academy Public Affairs Office at 860-444-8270.
About U.S. Coast Guard Academy
As the smallest of the five U.S. service academies, the Coast Guard Academy offers the elite higher education, rigorous professional development, and honor and tradition of a military academy but with a more personalized approach.
The Coast Guard Academy offers an integrated life experience which emphasizes academics, physical fitness, character and leadership, in order to graduate officers of the highest caliber. Graduates go directly to positions of leadership in “The Shield of Freedom,” one of the most admired organizations in the world. The Academy also features an impressive teacher-student ratio and picturesque waterfront campus that instills a traditional small college feel.
Cadets devote themselves to an honor concept and graduate to work at sea, on land, in the air, and even in space, in meaningful careers of selfless service to others.
For additional information – check out: www.coastguardlax.vicid.net