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An HH-65C "Dolphin" helicopter from Air Station Detroit in flight. An HH-65C "Dolphin" helicopter from Air Station Detroit. U. S. Coast Guard Air Station Detroit logo

Public Affairs

To schedule a tour of Air Station Detroit or to arrange for a Helicopter Appearance request, please call the Public Affairs Officer at (586) 239-6748


The United States Coast Guard is a military, multi-mission, maritime service within the Department of Homeland Security and one of the nation's five armed services. Its core roles are to protect the public, the environment, and U.S. economic and security interests in any maritime region in which those interests may be at risk, including international waters and America's coasts, ports, and inland waterways.


The Coast Guard's roots lie in the Revenue Cutter Service, which was founded on August 4, 1790 as part of the Department of the Treasury. An act of the U.S. Congress created the Coast Guard in 1915, with the merger of the Revenue Cutter Service and the United States Lifesaving Service. The United States Lighthouse Service was merged into the Coast Guard in 1939. The legal basis for the Coast Guard is Title 14 of the United States Code, which states: "The Coast Guard as established January 28, 1915, shall be a military service and a branch of the armed forces of the United States at all times." Upon the declaration of war or when the President directs, the Coast Guard operates under the authority of the Department of the Navy. The Coast Guard later moved to the Department of Transportation in 1967, and on February 25, 2003 it became part of the Department of Homeland Security. For more information visit Coast Guard History.

Commissioned in June 1966, Coast Guard Air Station Detroit is located approximately twenty miles northeast of Detroit on Selfridge Air National Guard Base in the great state of Michigan. The original complement of ten officers and twenty-nine enlisted people, equipped with three Sikorsky HH-52A Seaguard amphibious helicopters, quickly became an integral part of the Coast Guard's National Search and Rescue effort and the aviation hub for the Ninth Coast Guard District, headquartered in Cleveland, Ohio. Now, the command has an active-duty complement of 24 officers and over 80 enlisted personnel, employing five HH-65C "Dolphin" helicopters to maintain a 24-hour Search and Rescue (SAR) and Law Enforcement (LE) coverage of over 1,100 miles of shoreline from Saginaw Bay Michigan to the St. Lawrence Seaway. Our newly upgraded helicopters are among the world's most sophisticated SAR helicopters. We conduct over 300 SAR missions annually that save an average of more than thirty lives and provide assistance to over two hundred others.

In addition to our SAR and LE missions, Air Station Detroit conducts flights in support of domestic icebreaking operations, Marine Environmental Protection (MEP), and mission support for over two hundred local, state, and federal agencies. The most visible of these missions include response to flooding on the Mississippi and Ohio Rivers; Operation Coal Shovel, the joint United States/Canadian ice breaking effort; and sustained support of pollution response and prevention efforts in two Coast Guard Districts. Air Station personnel also immediately responded to the rescue efforts in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina in 2005.  The unit's multi-mission capability plays a crucial role in public safety, navigability of waterways, pollution prevention, and compliance with Federal laws, and exemplifies the Coast Guard's motto: "Semper Paratus" (Always Ready). Flying approximately 3200 hours annually, our aircrews have enabled the unit to impressively amass well over 60,000 accident-free flight hours. Air Station Detroit also effectively employs its resources in an aggressive public support role through hundreds of annual special events such as school visits, search and rescue demonstrations, local and state humanitarian support missions, disaster relief exercises, air station tours, and air shows.

The men and women of Air Station Detroit take pride in being a part of the nation's smallest Armed Force, and the world's premier lifesaving service.

Last Modified 12/26/2014