Kaehler Memorial Medical Clinic History
Kaehler Memorial Medical Clinic was built in 1987 and Air Station Cape Cod medical services were transferred from its former location, where the Northeast Regional Fisheries Training Center is now housed, to its current location on 5201 Lee Road.
The clinic was named in dedication to Hospital Corpsman Second Class Bruce A. Kaehler, who was posthumously awarded the Distinguished Flying Cross for “Extraordinary achievement in aerial flight on 17-18 February 1979”. The award reads as follows:
Petty Officer Kaehler is cited for extraordinary achievement while participating in aerial flight on the night of 17 February and the early morning of 18 February 1979 while serving as a crewman of Coast Guard HH-3F 1432 engaged in the perilous attempt to rescue a severely injured seaman from the Japanese fishing vessel, KAISEI MARU NO. 18 which was located 210-miles southeast of Cape Cod, Massachusetts. Upon notification that a MEDEVAC was needed, the helicopter was launched toward a rendezvous with a Coast Guard HC-130 aircraft which had been dispatched to pinpoint the location of KAISEI MARU NO. 18. While en route, flying through heavy turbulence, high winds and snow showers, an updated position location for KAISEI MARU NO. 18 placed the vessel beyond the range of the helicopter, forcing the aircraft to return to Coast Guard Air Station Cape Cod. Receiving a further update on t he vessel's location, the aircraft was again launched into the deteriorating weather and located the wildly pitching vessel. While Petty Officer Kaehler prepared his equipment for the hapless seaman, a demanding approach to the surface was executed by the pilot. A tending line for the rescue litter was then lowered to the tossing vessel. This effort failed when the line parted due to the motion of the vessel, and a second attempt failed due to high winds. Before another attempt could be made, a mechanical malfunction occurred. Immediately, the crippled aircraft was skillfully guided to water in a level, controlled, attitude. Upon reaching the surface, the turbulent seas capsized the aircraft, trapping Petty Officer Kaehler and three of the crewmen. Petty Officer Kaehler displayed expert aeronautical skill and valor, while sacrificing his own life, in this rescue attempt. His courage, fortitude and unwavering devotion to duty are most heartily commended and were in keeping with the highest traditions of the United States Coast Guard.