Relatives remember loved ones killed in Coast Guard crash

By Diane Ako - bio | email

HONOLULU (KHNL) -- The crash killed co-pilot Lt. Cmdr. Andrew Wischmeier, rescue swimmer Petty Officer 1st class David Skimin and flight mechanic Petty Officer 2nd class Joshua Nichols. We reached relatives of two of those men by phone.

The men died doing what they loved. That's what relatives of Lt. Cmdr. Wischmeier,and Petty Officer 1st class Skimin say. His brother talked to us by phone from San Bernadino, California. "I'm grateful the Coast Guard gave Dave the opportunity to do what he wanted to and loved to do."

This is Petty Officer 1st class Skimin on the left, at his brother James' wedding last December. "How would he want to be remembered? Hmm. He was a humble person and I don't think he cared how he was remembered. Maybe as a good husband and a good friend?"

James Skimin says he feels lost without his brother. "Everyone that knew him, he touched them. I know it's cliche but that's how Dave was."

The parents of Lt. Cmdr. Wischmeier say their son was a talented and heroic Coast Guardsman, who put his life on the line before for his job. "He loved the Coast Guard and was hoping at the end when his term was up that they'd ask him on for another short period. He would have stayed," says father Bob by phone from Fort Lauderdale, Florida.

Lt. Cmdr. Wischmeier earned medals for his service. "He was the kind of guy who always seemed to have a smile on his face and was happy with all things. He loved the Coast Guard."

He was just a couple years away from retirement. Reflecting on the terrible news of his son's death, Bob says, "It was hard for me to believe. He spent 18 years there and was a tremendous pilot,"

Anyone who would like to donate to a fund set up for the families can go to The Coast Guard Foundation's website at