Coast Guard Aviation Centennial
US COAST GUARD AVIATION
The Coast Guard Aviation Association commemorates 100 years of saving the lives of those entrusted to us, securing our coastlines and pioneering fixed and rotary wing aviation.
CENTENNIAL | 1916-2016
The Beginning of Coast Guard Aviation
Curtis MF Flying Boat – used for initial flight evaluations Coast Guard Aviation owes its beginnings to three visionaries.
Coast Guard Aviation WW1
The United States entered World War I on 6 April 1917 and the Coast Guard was transferred to the US Navy. Ten Coast Guardsmen had obtained their wings by this time
NC-4 Transatlantic Flight
After the armistice the Coast Guard was returned to the Treasury Department and opportunities for aviation duties were extremely limited.
The First Permanent Air Station
Coast Guard Air Station Ten Pound Island The manufacture, sale or import of intoxicating beverage was forbidden by the Eighteenth Amendment to the Constitution after 16
The Flying Life Boats
A Coast Guard Aviation Section had been established at Headquarters under the direction of CDR. Norman B. Hall in 1928. The Search and Rescue potential of aviation
The Morgenthau Years
In 1934 Henry Morgenthau Jr., who was favorably disposed toward aviation, became Secretary of the Treasury. He directed that all flying activities of the Treasury Departmen
Coast Guard Anti Submarine Operations
The Japanese attacked Pearl Harbor on December 7, 1941 and by December 11 a state of war existed with both Japan and Germany.
The Coast Guard Develops the Helicopter
During the summer of 1942 the number of merchant ship sinkings was horrendous. CDR. Frank Erickson wrote a letter to Vice Adm. Russell Waesche, Commandant of the Coast
Coast Guard Patrol Squadron VP6-(CG)
The Coast Guard’s association with the International Ice Patrol and its experience in Arctic operations lead to a primary role in the Greenland area.
Coast Guard Assigned Search and Rescue Duties
The Navy, because of its expanded training programs was experiencing a high number of aviators being forced down on numerous
The Korean War
North Korean forces crossed the thirty-eighth parallel in June of 1950 resulting in the Korean War. The Coast Guard remained under the Treasury department throughout the conflict.
Coast Guard Aviation Growth Plan
In the year 1957 the Coast Guard operated 127 aircraft consisting of 14 models. Of this total 50 were WWII vintage. In addition there were only 28 helicopters in the entire inventory.
The Cuban Missile Crisis
In October 1962, the United States and the Soviet Union came to the brink of nuclear war over the placement of Soviet missiles in Cuba.
The HH-52A Helicopter
On January 9, 1963 the U.S. Coast Guard received the first of 99 Sikorsky S-62 helicopters which were given the designation HH-52A.
The Cutter and the Helicopter
Beginning in 1960 the first postwar cutters were being designed to replace the 125 and 165 footers. They were the first cutters, designed from the keel up to facilitate helicopter operations.
Coast Guard Aviation in Vietnam
The United States had become involved in the Vietnam conflict and as 1965 began the advisory capacity had given way to full combat operations.
Coast Guard Drug Interdiction Begins
In the summer of 1974 “Operation Buccaneer” took place. This was a joint surveillance and interd...
The Marijuana War Begins
The start of maritime drug smuggling was prompted by a demand for marijuana in America that could not be met by the land supply from Mexico.
The Mariel Boat Lift
On 21 April 1980 Fidel Castro opened up the port of Mariel to those Cubans wishing to leave. By 24 April nearly one thousand craft were observed going southbound. For the most
Coast Guard Rescue Swimmers
Training for the Aviation Survivalman rating is both specific and intense. Individuals were required to first pass a physical fitness screening test and then attend sixteen weeks
OPBAT – Operation Bahamas Turks and Caicos
Carlos Lehder, one of the kingpins of the Medellin Drug Cartel, bought Norman Cay in the Bahamas. It became a trans-shipment point for
Air Interdiction in the Drug War
The Anti Drug Abuse act of October 27, 1986 provided funds for Coast Guard drug interdiction enhancement. Congress funded APG-66 intercept radar capable of
Coast Guard Astronauts
CDR Bruce Melnick: Selected by NASA in June 1987, Commander Bruce Melnick became an astronaut in August 1988 and qualified for assignment as a mission specialist on Space
The Coast Guard, in the two years prior to 1995, responded to two mass migrations at the same time. This was one of the largest peacetime operations ever conducted.
Armed Helicopter Interdiction Forces
The largest challenge to drug interdiction during the late 1990s was the elusive, high speed smuggling boats called “go-fasts.” They were nearly invisible to radar, and difficult to
Coast Guard Becomes Part of DHS
On September 11, 2001 terrorists crashed two aircraft into the World Trade Center Towers in New York City and one into the Pentagon.
Katrina, a hurricane of catastrophic proportions, devastated New Orleans in 2005. The Coast Guard was highly praised for its rapid and outstanding rescue efforts,
Coast Guard-Arctic Awareness
Satellite measurements of Arctic sea ice extent reveal a rapid decline over the past 30 years, particularly at the end of each year's annual melt season. As the Arctic warms, the
Search and Rescue
The Coast Guard is multi-tasked. In addition to migrant interdiction and drug interdiction Coast Guard aviation is tasked with the International Ice Patrol, enforcement of fishery laws at sea,
A complete history of Coast Guard Aviation can be found at