The Coast Guard’s National Capitol Region Air Defense Facility, which is supported with both permanent crews and temporarily assigned aircrews from nearby Air Station Atlantic City, New Jersey, is the nations only helicopter alert facility in the country.
Last week, Coast Guard Dive Locker West completed decompression dive training off Coast Guard Cutter George Cobb. While this wasn’t the service’s first ever decompression dive training, it was the first official decompression dive made by members of the Coast Guard’s newest rating.
One of the greatest tests of the Coast Guard’s ability to surge forces in response to a major contingency occurred five years ago today when the mobile offshore drilling unit Deepwater Horizon exploded and caught fire in the Gulf of Mexico. In the immediate aftermath of the explosion, the Coast Guard responded along with others in the maritime community. While the collective response saved 115 people from the rig’s crew, 11 lives were tragically lost.
Today the Coast Guard and its interagency partners marked an important milestone in our Nation’s fight against dangerous transnational organized crime. In just six months, Coast Guardsmen have already interdicted more drugs in the Eastern Pacific than they did in all of fiscal year 2014.
The Coast Guard produced and delivered 174 response boats-medium, or RB-Ms, to 105 stations across 30 states and territories to replace its 41-foot utility boats, which were retired in 2014. Since the first response boat was delivered in 2008, coxswains around the country and their commanders have consistently lauded the response boat’s capabilities to perform the full spectrum of Coast Guard response boat missions.
Fourteen tons of cocaine seized or disrupted with an estimated wholesale value of $423 million and 55 suspects were apprehended during 18 separate interdictions off the coast of Central and South America. These numbers aren’t a total year’s tally, which would still be impressive – this is just one 90-day patrol for the crew of the Coast Guard Cutter Boutwell.
U.S. military, law enforcement agencies and regional partner-nation law enforcement agencies patrol the waters in the Caribbean Sea, Gulf of Mexico and the Eastern Pacific on a year-round basis in an effort to detect, monitor and interdict illicit traffickers.
Our history as a maritime nation is intertwined with the missions of America’s Sea Services – the U.S. Navy, Marine Corps and Coast Guard. From engaging and defeating adversaries to assisting other nations through humanitarian and disaster relief, our maritime forces have a proud tradition of cooperative partnership.
The Coast Guard maintains a constant presence in the Pacific and Caribbean– two key transit areas with known drug trafficking routes. Since the early 1970s, 378-foot cutters like the Mellon have been instrumental in the detection and interdiction of smugglers and narcotics on the high seas.
Today, United States Coast Guard men and women are standing the watch around the world in service to our Nation. Our efforts and mission success depend on reliable and predictable funding.