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Unit History

Salem Air Station SeaplaneIn May of 1925, three of the Coast Guard's first seaplanes began operations at Ten Pound Island, near Gloucester, MA. The island became, in effect, the first CG Air Station, and later became a pilot training and communications testing facility.

With little room to expand at Gloucester, a new air station was established at Salem, MA in 1935. In 1941 air crews from Salem began flying neutrality patrols along the coast, and the war years saw the air station roster increase to 37 aircraft, making it the second largest station on the east coast.

On October 21, 1944 Air Station Salem was officially designated as the first US Air-Sea Rescue service on the eastern seaboard.  In 1950,
Air Detachment Quonset Point, Rhode Island was established as a sub unit of Air Station Salem.

During the 1950's, helicopters were introduced with a great deal of success as a rescue platform.  With the development of the HH-52A, an amphibious helicopter, the need for a flying boat was lessened.   Therefore, air stations having only water landing capabilities, such as Salem, were phased out.

HH-52A HelicopterIn the 1960's, the Coast Guard began searching for a replacement facility, one that could grow as needed and accomodate modern aircraft.   In 1968, the Department of Defense agreed to allow the Coast Guard to utilize Otis Air Force Base on Cape Cod for a new Coast Guard Air Station.  Air Station Cape Cod was officially established on August 29, 1970.

From 1970 until 2005, the Massachusetts Air National Guard maintained a significant aviation presence on the airfield and managed all aspects of airfield operations. Most recently, the 102nd Fighter Wing sprang into action just minutes after the terrorist’s attacks on the World Trade Center in New York City, mobilizing more than 600 wing members for OPERATION Noble Eagle.

However in 2005, the Base Realignment and Closure Act set a path that transformed the 102nd Fighter Wing into the 102nd Intelligence Wing, redistributing their aviation resources to other units throughout the Air Force. This historical event eventually led ASCC to assume full responsibility for airfield operations beginning October 1st, 2008.  While transforming the Cold War Vintage Air Force Base into a 100% operated Coast Guard Air Station, all aspects of airfield management to include maintenance, approach lighting, tower operations, weather forecasting, NAVAIDs and snow removal became the responsibility of ASCC.

Support Activities – As the DOD tenants of Otis Air Base realigned over the past 30 years, Coast Guard presence on the base continued to grow, emerging in the early 2000’s as the largest active duty military representation on what is now known as Joint Base Cape Cod (JBCC).

The Commanding Officer of the Air Station fills a dual role, running the Air Station as well as serving as the “Mayor” of military housing and support services.  While ASCC is the 3rd largest physical plant in the Coast Guard, it better compares to a major support command than a traditional air station.

Other CG units on the JBCC include the CG Northeastern Regional Fisheries Training Center, Electronic Support Detachment Cape Cod, Marine Safety Detachment Cape Cod, Communications Station Boston, Atlantic Area Armory, Port Security Unit 301 and the CG Investigative Service. In addition, ASCC provides world class medical support to all tenant DOD agencies at Kaehler Memorial Medical Clinic. Providing medical, dental and pharmaceutical services, Kaehler Clinic was recently recognized as the CG’s Health Care Facility of the Year for 2007.

In all, over 520 CG personnel call JBCC home.
Last Modified 2/15/2014