A Project of the Coast Guard Aviation Association

1969: Air Station Cape May New Jersey Re-established

HH-52A helicopter on the left, HH65A helicopter on the right

In 1926, a second Coast Guard Air Station was established at Cape May, New Jersey to deter rum-runners. The Air Station was decommissioned in 1938 due to a lack of funding. However, air patrol detachments were maintained at Cape May until 1941. During World War II, the Navy used Cape May again, this time for training pilots in aircraft carrier operations. The unique position of Cape May on the Atlantic provided excellent simulated conditions.

The Air station was re-commissioned 17 July 1969. It was the first Air station to utilize the “Group” concept wherein all operational units in a given area including the Air Station would be under a single command. The Air Station was part of Coast Guard Group Cape May. The Group Commander was the Air Station Commanding Officer.

The area of responsibility extended from just north of Atlantic City, New Jersey southward to the Delaware and Maryland state line. The primary mission of the units assigned to the group was search and rescue and the enforcement of laws and treaties. Significant support was given to other Federal, State and local agencies in a multitude of ways.

The Air Station had fourteen aviators, one aviation warrant officer and twenty-five enlisted aviation personnel who operated and maintained three HH-52A helicopters. In 1986 the HH-52As were replaced with the HH-65A.

During the summer months the group office established seasonal Search and Rescue Detachments (SARDET) at Fortescue Inlet, Townsend Inlet and Roosevelt Inlet. These were surface units fully supported by the helicopters from the Cape May Air Station.

In 1998, as a result of a Coast Guard aviation streamlining initiative to realign unit location with the capabilities of today’s modern aircraft, Air Station Brooklyn, New York and Group-Air Station Cape May, New Jersey resources were combined at a newly constructed $13 million facility at Atlantic City International Airport.

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