In this documentary series, the U.S. Coast Guard spoke with retired Captain Walter Reger, the third commanding officer of HITRON (Helicopter Interdiction Tactical Squadron).
HITRON operations started as an experiment in 1998 to halt the flow of illegal drugs into the U.S. Drug trafficking organizations primarily used «go-fast» boats, high-speed smuggling vessels capable of traveling over twice the speed of Coast Guard Cutters (USCGC), due this the USCG needed a way to counter the threat and started the operation of Helicopter Interdiction Tactical Squadron.
HITRON helicopters operate in known smuggling vectors and rely on expertly trained aircrews and precision marksmen to disable go-fast drug smuggling vessels in the event suspects refuse to comply with verbal and visual warnings for law enforcement boardings under international maritime law. This series focuses on the founding members, pioneers, and stakeholders who have played an essential part in HITRON’s history.
The Helicopter Interdiction Tactical Squadron began operating with rented helicopters MH-90 Enforcer, USCG designation for the MD900 Explorer which were later replaced by the type MD902 (made by MD Helicopters). The MH-90s gave way to Italian aircraft MH-68A Mako, or Stingray, (Agusta –Leonardo Helicopters– A109 Power). Currently the HITRON aircrews fly eight Airbus Helicopters MH-65 Dolphin.
The appearance of U.S. Department of Defense (DoD) visual information does not imply or constitute DoD endorsement.