HOMER, ALASKA - Michael Kozloski, a 2001 graduate of Mahopac High School and a chief warrant officer in the U.S. Coast Guard, was fatally injured on Thursday, Jan. 31, when a crane rolled over and hit him while on duty in the town of Homer, Alaska, where he was stationed.
Coast Guard officials said Kozloski, 35, was injured while working in the buoy yard when the crane accident occurred. Local emergency medical services personnel responded around 2 p.m. and performed CPR and transported him to South Peninsula Hospital where he was pronounced deceased.
“It’s with great sadness that we announce the passing of a devoted shipmate, husband and father following this tragic accident,” said Rear Adm. Matthew T. Bell Jr., Coast Guard 17th District commander. “Chief Warrant Officer Kozloski faithfully served his country for over 17 years and we are forever grateful for his steadfast devotion to duty and sacrifices.”
Bell said the investigation into the accident is ongoing.
He married his high school sweetheart, Brienne Coleman Kozloski, in August 2003. While at Mahopac High School, he was a proud member of the football team where he wore number 62 and was nicknamed, "Koz." He graduated Coast Guard boot camp in October 2001. He was first stationed on eastern Long Island at the Coast Guard’s Montauk facility. Prior to being sent to Homer, Alaska, he was also stationed in Connecticut, Maryland and New Jersey. His half-sister, Alexis Cross, said he decided to join the Coast Guard after he graduated high school, following in the footsteps of his friend, Pete Dillon.
“He joined and made it his career and absolutely fell in love with it,” she said. “He loved what he did, and he had so many amazing accomplishments in the short 17 years.”
Kozloski was a crew member of the U.S. Coast Guard Cutter Hickory and had been stationed in Alaska since August 2017.
“He was a kind, gentle soul who adored his wife and four children,” his aunt, Dyanna Kozloski Rettig, told Mahopac News. “He loved his career with the Coast Guard and truly enjoyed being stationed in Alaska with his family. In his down time, he was always enjoying the outdoors with them. We’re all devastated and will miss him terribly.”
“He had a heart of gold, could make anyone laugh, and had an infectious smile,” added Cross.
In a statement released over the weekend, Rep. Sean Patrick Maloney (NY-18) said his heart goes out to Kozloski’s family, his fellow Guardsmen and the community in Mahopac.
“Michael dedicated his entire adult life to protecting our country as a member of the Coast Guard, and his service will not be forgotten,” Maloney said. “I ask the Hudson Valley to join me in praying for Officer Kozloski’s family and offering support during this difficult time.
“I will continue to monitor this situation as additional details come to light,” the congressman added. “The Subcommittee on the Coast Guard and Maritime Transportation stands ready to provide support to the Guard as they seek answers and work to ensure we prevent accidents moving forward.”
On Saturday, there was an outpouring of grief and sympathy on social media from friends and classmates.
“Mike was a great guy with a great laugh,” said classmate Kathy Mahony on Facebook.
“He was an amazing person and father—one of a kind in every way,” added friend Alfred Mosiello.
Besides his wife, he also survived by his mother, Patricia Kozloski-Fries; his father, Michael W. Kozloski; and his stepmother, Jean Kozloski, and his four children, Madeline, Bayleigh, Cassidy, and Michael.
There will be a military memorial service for Kozloski in Alaska on Friday, Feb. 8. A local service was being planned but details were not available at press time.