Alvin Callender Field
Still in operation
Located on Naval Air Station New Orleans, Coast Guard Air Station New Orleans was under the operational control of the Eighth Coast Guard District. The primary mission of the station was search and rescue coverage in the Gulf of Mexico, from Apalachiola, Florida, to the Texas-Louisiana border.
The Coast Guard Air Station was commissioned in July, 1955 and was then located at the old Naval Air Station at Lake Ponchartrain. In December 1957, the Coast Guard Air Station moved with the Navy to Alvin Callender Field, and shared a hangar with the Navy and Marine Air Reserve. The present (as of December 1985) hangar facilities were opened in September 1968. A new addition, a building to house administration, medical, and operations departments was scheduled for completion in the summer of 1986.
Many milestones have been achieved at the station: On April 1, 1969, CG Air Station New Orleans was the first operational unit flying the Sikorsky HH-3F twin engine helicopter, which had the most sophisticated electronics package installed in a helicopter at that time. On March 24, 1980, rescue efforts resulted in the 1500th life saved by Air Station New Orleans personnel. During August 1985, the station became the first CG air station to operate the Aerospatiale HH-65A Dolphin helicopter, becoming fully operational on September 11, 1985. The computerized navigation system of the HH-65A includes on auto-pilot function, thus freeing the pilot to spend more time searching.
In the early 1980s, Coast Guard Air Station New Orleans was the busiest all-helicopter air station in the Coast Guard with over 500 SAR cases annually. The Air Station has received three Coast Guard Unit Commendations (as of December 1985).
In the spring of 2006, CAPT Bruce Jones, commanding officer of Air Station New Orleans, and CAPT Frank Paskewich, commander of Coast Guard Sector New Orleans, presided over a ceremony at the air station in Belle Chasse where more than 115 personnel received medals and awards for heroism, including the Distinguished Flying Cross and the Air Medal, for their hurricane response efforts during Hurricane Katrina operations. CAPT Jones wanted to recognize the efforts of his men and women during Hurricane Katrina and its aftermath, the largest life-saving effort in Coast Guard history. Over its 50-year history, Air Station New Orleans crews saved 3,689 lives. Within the seven-day period following the storm, Coast Guard air assets from all over the United States joined together, operating out of Air Station New Orleans and Coast Guard Aviation Training Center Mobile to save more than 7,100 lives.
Unless otherwise indicated all photos are official U.S. Coast Guard photographs. Any original caption information is included in the text beneath each photo, along with a date, if known. Click on the thumbnail to access a 300 dpi image.
Original photo caption: "Coast Guard rescue helicopters line the tarmac at Air Station New Orleans in Belle Chasse, La., today. Coast Guard search and rescue crews are continuing to respond after Hurricane Katrina left thousands of New Orleans citizens in peril. The Coast Guard has used aviation assets from Coast Guard Air Stations New Orleans, Houston, Corpus Christi, Texas, Mobile, Ala., Miami, Elizabeth City, N.C., Clearwater, Fla., and Cape Cod, Mass., as well as Navy, Army, National Guard, Coast Guard Auxiliary, Air Force and commercial aircraft."; photo dated 2 September 2005; photo number 050902-C-3550N-060 (FR); photo by PA2 Kyle Niemi, USCG.
Air Station Files, U. S. Coast Guard Historian's Office
Arthur Pearcy. A History of U. S. Coast Guard Aviation. Annapolis, MD: Naval Institute Press, 1989.