Stobinski was one of the first Helicopter Interdiction Tactical Squadron gunners and shares what that role entailed.
The Coast Guard 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. The USCG needed a way to counter the threat.
In late 1998, six Coast Guard pilots and four enlisted aircrew members developed tactics and procedures to utilize armed helicopters operating aboard Coast Guard cutters to answer the call.
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.
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