Air Station Cape Cod turns 41!

Air Station Cape Cod turns 41

BOURNE - Lt. Cmdr. Brian Wallace (ret.) and Seaman Josh Tonneas cut a cake commemorating the 41st birthday of Coast Guard Air Station Cape Cod. Wallace is the oldest, and Tonneas is the youngest member of the Air Station. U.S. Coast Guard photo by Michael Dubin.

Coast Guard Air Station Cape Cod celebrated its 41st year of saving lives, preserving our nation’s natural resources, and enforcing U.S. law, Monday.


Aircraft in the hangar

CAPE COD, Mass. - Aircraft and crews at Air Station Cape Cod stand prepared to asses vital shipping ports and waterways, as well as potential search and rescue missions, upon the arrival and passing of Hurricane Irene on Aug. 28, 2011. The air station's area of responsibility spans the Northern New Jersey to Canadian Borders. U.S. Coast Guard photo by Petty Officer 2nd Class Eric J. Chandler.

Capt. David Throop, the 14th commanding officer of the air station, hosted the ceremony to celebrate and commemorate the rich history of the unit. Coast Guard Auxiliarist Don Ladd read a brief history of the origins of Air Station Cape Cod and its many notable missions throughout the years.

Capt. Jim Perry (ret.) and Lt. Cmdr. Brian Wallace (ret.) were also present and shared a few thoughts and memories from the first years of the Air Station. Wallace is a plank owner (someone assigned to a unit when it was commissioned), one of the first officers to serve at the air station.

“While we continue to assist with recovery efforts from Irene, it is important to recognize the tremendous contributions of the men and women of Air Station Cape Cod, and our legacy of excellence and professionalism as we go forward,” said Throop at the ceremony.

On October 21, 1944 Air Station Salem was officially designated as the first US Air-Sea Rescue service on the eastern seaboard. In 1950, Air Detachment Quonset Point, Rhode Island was established as a sub unit of Air Station Salem.

In the 1960’s, the Coast Guard began searching for a replacement facility, one that could grow as needed and accomodate modern aircraft. In 1968, the Department of Defense agreed to allow the Coast Guard to utilize Otis Air Force Base on Cape Cod for a new Coast Guard air station.  Air Station Cape Cod was officially established on August 29, 1970, as a combination of Coast Guard Air Stations Salem, Mass. and Quonset Point, R.I.

The first reported rescue for Air Station Cape Cod was on October 19th 1970 when four survivors from a sailboat off of Nantucket were brought to safety. Nearly 41 years later, on August 15th 2011, the Air Station conducted a life-saving rescue of a 77-year-old man who went overboard from his sailboat in severe weather.

The Air Station has saved an estimated 6,150 lives, $615,000,000 in property, and conducted more than 12,300 missions in the period between the first and most recent rescues.

And still going strong! Happy birthday, Air Station Cape Cod!