Coast Guard Helicopter Interdiction Tactical Squadron (HITRON) Founding Members

Coast Guard Helicopter Interdiction Tactical Squadron (HITRON) Founding Members MH-68A Mako
SAN FRANCISCO, Calif. (March 6, 2005) An MH-68A Mako aircrew, from the Helicopter Interdiction Tactical Squadron (HITRON), provides aerial support during a Special Surface and Airborne Use of Force exercise in San Francisco Bay. During this drill, the HITRON served as support to MSSTs during the boarding of a non-compliant vessel.
U.S. Coast Guard photo by Chief Petty Officer Alan Haraf.

In this Coast Guard Helicopter Interdiction Tactical Squadron (HITRON) history series, the USCG spoke with retired Chief Warrant Officer Ray Stobinski Jr. (HITRON 10).

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.

Coast Guard Helicopter Interdiction Tactical Squadron (HITRON) Founding Members MH-65 Dolphin
An MH-65 Dolphin helicopter is seen on the Coast Guard Cutter Waesche’s flight deck Jan. 24, 2015. The helicopter is operated by an elite crew from the Helicopter Interdiction Tactical Squadron (HITRON) who specialize in airborne use of force and drug-interdiction missions.
U.S. Coast Guard photo by Chief Petty Officer Luke Pinneo.

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.

-USCG-

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U.S. Coast Guard video by Petty Officer 2nd Class Laura Dean and Petty Officer 3rd Class Sydney Phoenix.

The appearance of U.S. Department of Defense (DoD) visual information does not imply or constitute DoD endorsement.

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