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Air Station Sacramento, California

The official patch of Air Station Sacramento

Original Location: 
McClellan Air Force Base 

Current Location:
McClellan Park in the city of North Highlands, California

Date of Commission:
5 September 1978

Still in operation

Historical Remarks:

Coast Guard Air Station Sacramento was commissioned on the fifth of September 1978, at that time becoming the Coast Guard’s newest operational aviation facility.  It was located at the north end of McClellan Air Force Base.  Air Station Sacramento was established as an outgrowth of Air Station San Francisco, where ramp space and an increase in the number of aircraft required that the fixed-wing contingent be relocated.  With a complement of 191 officers and enlisted personnel operating five HC-130 "Hercules" aircraft, Air Station Sacramento was under the operational and administrative control of the Commander, Twelfth Coast Guard District.

Air Station Sacramento participated in a wide range of Coast Guard missions.  Primary among them and perhaps most widely known is Search and Rescue.  The Air Station maintained a 24-hour immediate response capability, with a "ready" Search and Rescue crew on duty at all times.  Search and rescue coverage was provided for the Eastern Pacific Area, the entire west coast of the United States, areas west of Canada, and south along the Baja California coast.

Other missions of Air Station Sacramento are Marine Environmental Protection and Federal Law Enforcement. These efforts include fisheries patrols in support of the Fisheries Conservation and Management Act of 1976 and law enforcement patrols aimed at enforcing the 200-mile limit and combating the ever-increasing problem of drug smuggling. 

Drug interdiction patrols are flown year-round and are coordinated with Coast Guard cutters allowing a greater geographic area to be more thoroughly covered. As many as six or eight Coast Guard cutters may be coordinated into a patrol. The aircraft extends the ‘eyes’ of the ship while patrolling not only coastal waters, but shipping lanes and fishing grounds miles at sea. The ship provides a boarding capability should a violation be detected. 

Another major area of responsibility of Air Station Sacramento is that of providing transportation for the Pacific Strike Team, the Coast Guard’s oil spill prevention and containment team on the west coast. Located at Hamilton Field, the Strike Team is immediately alerted in the event of an oil spill, responding to provide expert assistance in containment and cleanup of environmentally damaged areas. 

Air Station Sacramento further supports the many missions of the Coast Guard by performing logistics flights between the stations, carrying essential cargo and passengers on an ‘as- required’ basis. Also, the Coast Guard’s Long Range Aids to Navigation System is frequently checked for accuracy by LORAN monitor flights over both the Atlantic and Pacific oceans.

Historical Sources:

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.

Last Modified 1/12/2016