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Coast Guard HITRON History Series: AET1 Kimberly Dechmerowski

Coast Guard HITRON History Series: AET1 Kimberly Dechmerowski
Archive image: Petty Officer 3rd class Sean Benhart conducts preventive maintenance on a MH-65 helicopter from the Helicopter Interdiction Tactical Squadron (HITRON) deployed on the Coast Guard Cutter James (WMSL-754) Oct. 28, 2020 in the Eastern Pacific Ocean.
The HITRON unit provides aerial support to Coast Guard assets during counter narcotic operations projecting the use of force from the air to stop not complying vessels during pursuits.
U.S. Coast Guard photo by Petty Officer 3rd Class Erik Villa Rodriguez.

In this USCG HITRON History Documentary Series, the Coast Guard speak with Petty Officer 1st Class Kimberly Dechmerowski, an avionics electrical technician. Dechmerowski and the first female gunner of Helicopter Interdiction Tactical Squadron.

The 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). The Coast Guard 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.

Petty Officer 1st Class Kimberly Dechmerowski, avionics electrical technician and the first female gunner of Helicopter Interdiction Tactical Squadron, shares what that role entailed comes HITRON aircrew member.

The Coast Guard HITRON MH-65 Dolphin 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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