Coast Guard is recognized worldwide as the leader in maritime search and
rescue. Our priority has always been to minimize injury and loss of life,
property damage and render aid to persons in distress as expeditious and
safe as humanly possible. The Coast Guard is able to accomplish this task
with multi-mission stations, cutters, aircraft, and boats linked by
strategically placed communications networks. Here at Air Station Elizabeth
City, C-130 Hercules and H-60 Jayhawk aircrews are ready to respond to calls
for assistance 24 hours a day.
Our H-60 Jayhawk medium range recovery helicopters are outfitted with the most comprehensive all weather electronics package available. Our aircrews consist of two pilots, a flight mechanic and rescue swimmer. These crews have access to an array of equipment that increases their ability to detect persons and vessels in the water, including forward looking infrared radar (FLIR), direction finding (DF) radio equipment, and night vision goggles. When vessels and individuals are located, the crew has many options for recovery available to them, the most effective being the rescue swimmer. Our rescue swimmers are experienced in many different environments including high seas, surf, swift-water and cliffs to name a few. Along with their rescue abilities they are also nationally registered Emergency Medical Technicians.
Our C-130 Hercules long-range surveillance aircraft are also equipped with extremely effective radio and navigation packages. Aircrews consist of two pilots, a flight engineer, navigator, radio operator, and dropmaster. The aircrews have an assortment of rescue equipment aboard that can be deployed by parachute including life rafts, radios, survival kits, pumps and survival suits. The C-130's are often tasked with escorting helicopter crews offshore on long-range missions, ensuring they reach their destination successfully and return home safely. They have also been known to deploy Navy SEALS and Air Force Para Jumpers by parachute when helicopters and other resources were unable to reach individuals in distress.
Since 1995 the Air Station has averaged over 360 search and rescue missions each year. In the last 60 years the Air Station has launched on over 20,000 missions, day and night, fair weather or foul, to rescue or assist over 10,000 people.
The dedicated men and women of Air Station Elizabeth City are poised to carry on a tradition of excellence and uphold their motto of Semper Paratus - Always Ready.