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The U.S. Coast Guard is a military, multi-mission, maritime service. It had operated within the Department of Transportation during peacetime, the Service falls under the direction of the Secretary of the Navy upon declaration of war or when the President directs. However, in 2003, it was placed under the direction of the Department of Homeland Security. The Coast Guard is a unique federal agency. In addition to its non-redundant yet compelling national defense role as one of the five U.S. Armed Services, the Coast Guard is charged with a broad scope of regulatory, law-enforcement, humanitarian, and emergency-response duties. The Coast Guard operates in a complex and dangerous maritime environment characterized by rapidly changing security threats at home and abroad.
Since 1963, Air Station Savannah has provided search and rescue (SAR) coverage 24 hours a day, 365 days a year, for the Atlantic Coast from the northern border of South Carolina to Melbourne, Florida, averaging more than 250 SAR cases a year.
Today's Coast Guard and Air Station Savannah support a multitude of Coast Guard missions world-wide. These missions include: Search & Rescue, Marine Safety, Marine Environmental Protection, Fisheries Enforcement, Aids to Navigation, Migrant Interdiction, Drug Interdiction, Other Law Enforcement and Defense Readiness. Aircraft are routinely deployed aboard Coast Guard cutters along the East Coast and throughout the Gulf of Mexico and the Caribbean.
While not permanently assigned to specific ship aviation detachments from Air Station Savannah become an integral part of the Coast Guard team on all of our deployments. The capabilities of the deployed helicopters greatly increase the chances of seizing illegal contraband, sighting vessels carrying illegal migrants, and generally maintaining more effective vigilance over our patrol areas.
The Coast Guard HH-65A is also an important Search and Rescue (SAR) asset while on board. During most deployments, Coast Guard Cutters will maintain one HH-65 helicopter and an aviation detachment consisting of two pilots and two or three flight mechanics.