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 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 the Coast Guard Cutters (USCGC) to answer the call.
The Coast Guard Helicopter Interdiction Tactical Squadron (HITRON) aircraft 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 the HITRON’s history.
Interview by: Cmdr. Ace Castle
Edited by: Petty Officer 1st Class Alissa Blackburn
The appearance of U.S. Department of Defense (DoD) visual information does not imply or constitute DoD endorsement.