and senior members of Wesley Chapel Cadet Squadron, was granted the amazing
opportunity to tour USCG Air Station Clearwater, FL, the largest Coast Guard
air base in the country. There the USCG operates the two primary aircraft in
their inventory: the C-130 Hercules, and the H-60 Jayhawk.
Upon arrival at the base LTJg Justin Lewis, USCG, provided a
guided tour of the facilities. After a short introduction and safety brief, CAP
members were taken to the C-130 hangar for an aircraft walkthrough familiar
with the Hercules, while a ground crew was readying another C-130 with
palletized seating so that CAP members could participate in a scheduled
After the approximately hour-long training flight, the group
gathered at flight ops, where missions are planned and aircrews are briefed.
Here LT Lewis explained the sequence of how rescue missions are
carried out and coordinated with other agencies.
Next it was on the hangar where the stations helicopters are
kept and maintained. Air Station Clearwater has the capability to perform all
aspects of helicopter maintenance on site from engine replacement to major
airframe refurbishment. Here we learned about the H-60s capabilities from LTJg
Lewis, himself a helicopter pilot who transferred to the Coast Guard from the USAF.
Once the aircraft presentations was done, it was off the
survival and rescue equipment shop, where we learned from Chief Petty Officer Scott
Gordon, USCG, about the evolution of water rescue from aircraft, the
development of specialized equipment for the mission, and learned of the
backgrounds and training required to become a rescue swimmer with the Coast
The Coast Guard not only helps people involved in boating
and water rescues, but also assists agencies on land when rescues require
specialized methods, such as from the face of a cliff. All in all, the Coast
Guard tour was extremely amazing and taught us a lot about this branch of service.
There was a definite feeling of pride and unity at the
airbase from the people we met stationed there. It was an amazing trip in every
way because the people stationed there were willing to introduce us to
everything their jobs entailed. The men and women working at the station didn’t
just teach us about their station, they taught us about what morals inspired
them and drove then to become as successful as they were. And we hope to apply
those in the future to better ourselves and the world around us.
And we thank the US Coast Guard for this wonderful
by C/MSgt Andrea Rocha, C/ SSgt Sydney Jung and C/AB Anmol Mittal. Photos by C/
CMSgt Ian Lee