Coast Guard plays significant role in 100 years of Naval Aviation|
Posted 5/22/2011 Updated 5/31/2011
by Senior Airman Amber Russell
459th Air Refueling Wing Public Affairs
5/22/2011 - JOINT BASE ANDREWS, Md. -- Historically and currently, the United States allied forces carry out missions to protect and defend the nation. The Navy, Air Force, Army and Marines often take center stage when recognition for efforts are bestowed. The United States Coast Guard can be seen as the unsung heroes of the Armed Forces. Their efforts will not go unnoticed at the 2011 Joint Service Open House Air Show here May 21.
Today's Coast Guard, with nearly 42,000 active duty men and women, is a unique force that carries out an array of civil and military responsibilities, touching almost every facet of the U.S. maritime environment. By law, the Coast Guard has 11 missions: Ports, waterways and coastal security; drug interdiction; aids to navigation; search and rescue; living marine resources; Marine safety; defense readiness; migrant interdiction; Marine environmental protection; ice operations; and other law enforcement.
Lieutenant Cmdr. Rene Baez, Air Station Training Center Mobile, Ala., aircraft commander and Lt. Chuck Clark, Air Station Atlantic City, N.J., aircraft commander, discussed the dual purpose of military service and Law Enforcement within the Coast Guard and its significance in the past 100 years of Naval aviation.
"Out of the five services, the Coast Guard is separate from the Department of Defense, but we become part of the Navy when Congress declares war." Lieutenant Cmdr. Baez said."Our personnel has been in the Persian Gulf war, Afghanistan and Guantanamo Bay guarding ports. The Coast Guard has historically been present in wartime." Lieutenant Baez said. The Coast Guard has also pioneered the way search and rescue efforts are done.
Lieutenant Clark, presented the Dolphin Helicopter the latest in avionics Short Range Recovery Helicopter (SRR) that performs search and rescue, law enforcement and homeland security missions at the JSOH today.
He gave credit to Igor Sikorsky for putting helicopters in Coast Guard history after building and successfully flying the VS-300 helicopter in 1939. Humanitarian and environmental efforts are essential to the Coast Guard mission.
"Currently our biggest contributions are the environmental deep-water horizon oil spill and rescue efforts in the floods in Mississippi," Lieutenant Cmdr. Baez said.
The Coast Guard has a Research and Development program to address four main focus areas: Spill Response Planning and Management, Spill Detection and Surveillance, Vessel Salvage and On-Board Containment, and Spilled Oil Cleanup and Countermeasures. Coast Guard members are also working with state and local agencies to conduct wellness checks and perform rescues, and other critical functions, to ensure the safety of the residents affected by the flooding of the Mississippi River.
"We are making humanitarian efforts every day in good, bad and extreme weather. After our efforts and life-saving missions, we tend to step back and say mission accomplished," Lt. Clark said.