Air Station Cape Cod is located in Sandwich, in the western part of Massachusetts, inside a different installation – Otis. Both of them are operated by the United States Coast Guard. It is an air station run by Captain David Throp and benefits from eight aircrafts – four HH 60 Jayhawk helicopters and four HU 25 Guardian patrols.
Air Station Cape Cod is responsible for the area between New York and the borders with Canada. It has multiple missions. Some of the most important ones include SAR (Search And Rescue) missions and law enforcement operations above the water. The troops also deal with the navigational installations and supports, such as the lighthouses. They maintain and repair these supports whenever unexpected situations arise and they become nonfunctional. Other than that, a different mission implies the protection and maintenance of the marine environment. Some of the most popular such problems are the oil spills.
The helicopters got an active role in the United States Coast Guard starting with the ’50s. Prior to those years, there were not too many units out there to support this military branch. Instead, the US Coast Guard relied on float planes. They were obviously inferior to the helicopters. Most operational bases relying on float planes started to lose their popularity and activity. Coast Guard Air Station Salem was one of them. The authorities began looking for a replacement installation during the ’60s. In 1968, they decided on the Otis installation. It had some clear advantage over the base from Salem, which did not have the possibility to expand according to the modern requests. Besides, the site was relatively limited and could not adopt any new aircrafts. This is how Air Station Cape Cod was brought to life. The groundbreaking ceremony was held on August, 29-th, 1970. A few weeks later, the first aircrafts were transferred from the base in Salem and another one from Rhode Island.
The first decade of Air Station Cape Cod brought in the first major accident too. In February, 1979, a helicopter crashed while involved in a rescue operation about 300 kilometers away from the base. The operation targeted an injured sailor. There were four troops in the aircraft and they all died. That was the one and only accident in the history of the base when military troops lost their lives in mission. The ’90s brought in the advanced HH 60 Jayhawk helicopters, which are still used today. Over the past decade, the station has performed multiple successful missions in the area. It also hosts the one and only aircraft in the US Coast Guard with the Aireye equipment. The equipment is extremely useful to spot the oil spills.
Over the history, Air Station Cape Cod was involved in a few of the most important conflicts in the world, counting the Cold War and the attacks over World Trade Center from the autumn of 2001. One of the most notable pilots that worked on site is Daniel C. Burbank, who now serves in the NASA as an astronaut.