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Tuesday, September 27, 2022

Inside the World of Traverse City Coast Guard Chopper-Rescue Teams

On a Sunday afternoon in September, the whoop-whoop-whoop-whoop of a Search and Rescue (SAR) alarm pulsates over the sprawling grounds of the Traverse City Coast Guard Station, a complex of low red brick buildings and a helicopter hangar on the city’s east side. Even as the alarm ceases and the voice of the duty officer in the control center details the emergency at hand over the base-wide intercom, the designated four-person watch-team is already pulling on their orange, dry-coverall suits—a standard outfit worn to protect crew members against hyperthermia if they end up in the water.

Each rescue team is composed of two pilots, an Aviation Maintenance Technician, known commonly as a flight mechanic and a rescue swimmer, aka Aviation Survival Technician. The watch team this afternoon: Jason Evans and Andy Schanno (both pilots), flight mechanic Cliff Fisher and rescue swimmer Paul Wiedenhoeft. Some 20 minutes later, and only after a pre-flight protocol to consider destination, weather, flight path and if any crew members have any condition that might impede the mission (alcohol consumed in the last 24 hours?), the crew is strapped in and Lieutenant Commander Jason Evans starts up one of the station’s three Jayhawk helicopters. The blades, with 54-foot rotor diameter, stir up a small tornado as the chopper lifts off.

Read more at Traverse, Northern Michigan’s Magazine

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The Government Technology & Services Coalition's Homeland Security Today (HSToday) is the premier news and information resource for the homeland security community, dedicated to elevating the discussions and insights that can support a safe and secure nation. A non-profit magazine and media platform, HSToday provides readers with the whole story, placing facts and comments in context to inform debate and drive realistic solutions to some of the nation’s most vexing security challenges.

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