Coast Guard Increases Counter Terrorism Firepower at Air Station San Francisco
- February 2nd, 2009
ALAMEDA, Calif. - The U.S. Coast Guard is increasing its firepower to counter terrorist attacks on ships, bridges and other potential targets in Northern California with the addition of armed helicopters to protect the region. Coast Guard Air Station San Franciscos helicopters have been outfitted with mounts and other equipment for new weapons, and additional crewmembers have been added to join the Coast Guards existing fleet of armed boats, cutters and maritime security boarding teams equipped stop terrorist attacks. Armed helicopters are another level of protection the Bay Area Coast Guard can utilize to save lives and protect coastal assets.
Extensive training of pilots and crewmembers has already been conducted at land-based ranges and offshore deep-ocean training areas. Combined helicopter-patrol vessel training will begin in isolated areas of San Pablo Bay at 11 a.m. today so crews can practice hostile-boat intercept maneuvers. No live ammunition will be used during the boat intercept maneuver training in the Bay, but boaters and people ashore may hear the blank rounds being fired.
Since Sept. 11, the Coast Guards role in homeland security has grown. The Coast Guard is both a federal law enforcement agency and a military service and has always had the authority and capability to employ armed boarding officers and armed boats and ships for law enforcement and security missions. The new armed helicopter capability will generally be used in conjunction with armed vessels and personnel for stopping clear and present threats to targets such as cruise ships, naval vessels, and bridges in Northern California. It will not be used for routine law enforcement missions.
The Coast Guard notified a wide range of local, state, and federal partner environmental agencies and non-governmental organizations of the planned hostile boat intercept training in San Pablo Bay. Before each training mission inside the area the Coast Guard will notify local law enforcement officials in addition to issuing appropriate broadcast notices to mariners and aviators.
Marksmen selected for this mission are carefully screened for physical and mental fortitude and are highly trained. The marksmen are all volunteers.
Air Station San Francisco is the seventh Coast Guard air station to add this additional layer of protection and security to the port areas they serve. Other Coast Guard Air Stations with armed helicopter capability are located in: Mobile, Ala.; Clearwater, Fla.; Port Angles, Wash.; Kodiak, Alaska; Cape Cod, Mass.; and San Diego.
USCG Air Station San Francisco's Internet Site
Since 1941, the Air Station has been located adjacent to San Francisco International Airport. Currently operating four HH65C helicopters, we provide Search and Rescue coverage along 300 miles of coastline from Point Conception to Fort Bragg 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, 365 days a year.
Beyond Search and Rescue our other missions include:
- Patrolling Ports, Waterways, and Coastal Security
- Protecting Living Marine Resources
- Enforcing Federal and International Laws and Regulations
- Providing Logistics Support
Here you will find information about the unit's history, transient aircrew references, points of contact, public affairs services and important resources for those transferring into the unit.