Fallen aviator remembered, Service members gather for clinic dedication

31 Jan 2004 | Cpl. G. Lane Miley

Service members supporting Combined Joint Task Force-Horn of Africa and Marine Central Command, Djibouti, gathered here Saturday, to remember the life of a fallen warrior and dedicate a lasting tribute to his ultimate sacrifice.

Naval personnel from the first deployed Expeditionary Medical Unit moved from their temporary tent clinic to a permanent structure named the Michaud Medical/Dental Clinic to ensure better service for the soldiers, airmen, sailors and Marines here.

Marine Capt. Seth R. Michaud, a CH-53 Super Stallion helicopter pilot assigned to Marine Heavy Helicopter Squadron-461, was killed June 22, 2003, during a CJTF-HOA training accident while fighting the Global War on Terrorism.

Navy Capt. Bill Kinney, commanding officer, EMU, opened the dedication ceremony by welcoming the official party and guests, who sat in front of him. To his left stood a formation of naval doctors, corpsmen, and dental technicians. To his right stood a formation of solemn pilots from Marine Heavy Helicopter Squadron-464 Detachment A (Reinforced).

Though Michaud, a Hudson, Mass., native, was assigned to HMH-461, a sister squadron to HMH-464, many of the Marines currently deployed here knew and served alongside the fallen warrior.

Marine Capt. Gary W. Wilds trained alongside Michaud when the two were lieutenants at The Basic School in Quantico, Va. Wilds said there Michaud was fresh from the Naval Academy so he was quiet and reserved, but always professional.

“In flight school he really began to blossom both personally and professionally,” Wilds said of his former comrade. “Seth had good study habits and a strong work ethic. He left for the fleet with solid stick skills and a thorough knowledge base of his new weapons system.”

Wilds, a flight line officer with HMH-464, said Michaud was focused on his job, but enjoyed his off time too.

“Seth always seemed to maintain the proper balance between work and fun. His spirits were always high, and that was a positive influence on all of us who served with him,” the Vero Beach, Fla., native said.

Marine Brig. Gen. Mastin Robeson, commander, CJTF-HOA, expressed how the day was bittersweet while taking the lectern as keynote speaker for the event. He said Michaud was a great Marine, a dedicated family man, a superb naval aviator and an outstanding person. After sharing some of Michaud’s strong characteristics with the crowd, Robeson added that hopefully one day Michaud’s son could come here, whether in uniform or not and see the living memory to his father.

Following Robeson’s comments Cmdr. Jack Lea, chaplain, CJTF-HOA, stepped forward to give the invocation.

After the prayer, Kinney invited the guests to tour the facility and enjoy some of the refreshments provided.

“I wish Seth was home with his family right now, and they had to come up with another name for the clinic,” said Wilds. “I do, however, think it is fitting that the medical facility be in his memory. It is a reminder of what a great person he was as well as a reminder of the medical efforts put out in that time of need. He truly was a great person and will be missed.”
Headquarters Marine Corps