A Project of the Coast Guard Aviation Association

 1969: Coast Guard Air Station Chicago Established

Commissioned in March 1969 by then-Commandant Willard J. Smith, Coast Guard Air Station Chicago, located on the Glenview Naval Air station, was the primary Search and Rescue unit for southern Lake Michigan. It was responsible for the waters from Milwaukee, Wisconsin to Muskegon, Michigan and south to Gary, Indiana. Originally the station was equipped with … Read more

1969: VC-11A Executive Transport Entered Service

The Coast Guard acquired a single Grumman Gulfstream II in February 1969 as a high speed executive transport for use by the Commandant and the Secretary of Transportation. A turbo-jet, purchased off-the-shelf, it was equipped with an Inertial Navigation System that allowed it to go any place in the world without outside input.  It was … Read more

1969: Icebreaker Support Section (IBSEC) Established

The Coast Guard’s first ship-helicopter operations were on icebreakers. In December 1946, the CGC Northwind participated in the U.S. Navy’s Operation High Jump, the largest Antarctic expedition ever. Northwind carried a Grumman J2F-6 “Duck” airplane and a single Sikorsky HNS-1 helicopter. The aircraft’s job was ice reconnaissance: to fly ahead of the ship and identify … Read more

1967: HH-3F Helicopters Entered Coast Guard Service


In November 1967 the US Coast Guard procured the first of the HH-3F Pelican Helicopters.   This twin turbine, medium range, amphibious, all weather helicopter extended the Coast Guard offshore search and rescue capabilities.  The HH-3F had a maximum speed of 142 knots with a normal cruise speed of 130 knots and a range of … Read more

1967: United States Coast Guard Transferred to the Department of Transportation


In his 1966 State of The Union Message, President Lyndon B. Johnson announced his intention to seek legislation creating a cabinet-level department that would oversee all federal transportation-related activities. The Coast Guard was to be part of this department. This was strongly opposed by Secretary of the Treasury Henry H. Fowler. The opposition was duly … Read more

1966: The Coast Guard Aviation Training Center Established at Mobile Alabama

The Basic Operational Training Unit (BOTU) formed at Coast Guard Air Station Savannah, Georgia, to provide standardized pilot/aircrew training for the HH-52, had been an unqualified success and Coast Guard Headquarters wished to extend the program to other aircraft.  Air station Savannah was located on Hunter Air Force Base. The facility was being transferred to … Read more

1966: Air Station Detroit Michigan Established

HH-65C "Dolphin" helicopter from Air Station Detroit over the Detroit River with the Renaissance Center and downtown Detroit in the background.

Commissioned in June 1966, Coast Guard Air Station Detroit is located twenty miles north of Detroit on Selfridge Air National Guard Base, Michigan. Air Station personnel first occupied an excess Air Force hangar until construction on the current facility could be completed in July of 1967. Two years later, the hangar was dedicated in memory … Read more