We had our first Field Trip of the Burtchett Administration last Friday – we were at the Coast Guard Air Station adjacent to McKinleyville International Airport. Joining us was our new Inbound Exchange Student, Kasper. We had planned a Welcome to America barbecue planned for him the previous Wednesday, but inclement weather caused a delay or cancellation. Bummer, since it was Kasper’s birthday. However … he did get his birthday gift on Friday – an Arcata High School hoodie. Ready for immediate use!
Our look at the Air Station was presented by Lieutenant Kevin Winters and Nick Daly. (I didn’t get his rank.) The 240 member crew that serves the AOR (Area of Responsibility) Lost Coast patrols about 250 miles of rugged, remote coastline from the Mendocino/Sonoma County line north to the Oregon border. Their service area extends inland 200 nautical miles, to the eastern California border.
Of those 240 personnel, 122 are stationed at the Group/Air Station at the airport. The facility houses three HH65C Helicopters. Other Coast Guard sites in the AOR Lost Coast include stations at Humboldt Bay and the Noyo River, the vessel ANT Humboldt Bay, and the CGC Barracuda and Dorado.
Lt. Winters said that the bulk of their duties involve rescue and law enforcement. They are also charged with providing marine environmental patrol.