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Last MH-65 helicopter to depart Air Station Traverse City

• Aug 12, 2017 at 9:00 AM

TRAVERSE CITY — The final MH-65 Dolphin helicopter is scheduled to depart Coast Guard Air Station Traverse City on Monday.

Since 1995, MH-65 helicopters have been utilized at Air Station Traverse City in search and rescue missions throughout the Great Lakes region.

While assigned to Air Station Traverse City, MH-65 helicopters flew more than 63,000 hours, with 11,861 in support of search and rescue. Over their 32 years of service across the Great Lakes, Traverse City’s MH-65 crews responded to nearly 4,600 distress calls, saved 208 lives, assisted 365 others, and saved or protected more than $370,000 worth of property.

In honor of the heroic work of those crews and aircraft, the air station will be hosting local government officials, former MH-65 pilots and crew, and media to give a warm send-off to Air Station Traverse City’s last MH-65 on Monday afternoon.

This event will also mark the completion of the Air Station’s MH-65 to MH-60 helicopter transition. This summer, Air Station Traverse City transitioned from operating the MH-65D to the MH-60T.

This change provides a three-fold benefit to the service and Great Lakes region.

— First, the Coast Guard has long identified the MH-60 as the helicopter most suited for responding to urgent missions throughout the expansive Great Lakes region, especially during the harsh winter conditions experienced here.

— Second, the Coast Guard will bolster its counter drug operational capabilities by transferring a MH-65 assigned to Air Station Traverse City to Coast Guard Helicopter Interdiction Tactical Squadron in Jacksonville, Florida.

— Third, one of the unit’s aircraft will be transferred to the Coast Guard Aviation Training Center in Mobile, Alabama, to support a fleetwide transition and training initiative associated with an MH-65 modernization effort.

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