Coast Guard Air Station Borinquen celebrates Centennial of Naval Aviation, hosts historic aircraft exhibition

USCG File Photo

AGUADILLA, Puerto Rico – Coast Guard Air Station Borinquen celebrated the Centennial of Naval Aviation Thursday alongside the Ramey Air Force Base Historical Association and the Berlin Airlift Historical Foundation by hosting and presenting their third exhibition of military, federal law enforcement and historical aircraft to 250 Ramey School students in Aguadilla, Puerto Rico.

“These children are our future,” said Capt. Melvin Bouboulis, Air Station Borinquen commander. “We are honored to give them the opportunity to learn about Naval Aviation history and the different air missions supported by the Coast Guard and Department of Homeland Security partner agencies in the Caribbean.”

The students were able to tour two Coast Guard Air Station Borinquen MH-65 Dolphin helicopters, a Coast Guard Air Station Miami, Fla. HC-144 Ocean Sentry aircraft; a U.S. Customs and Border Protection UH-60 Blackhawk helicopter; a Puerto Rico Air National Guard C-130E aircraft; the historical Spirit of Freedom, a fully operational C-54 aircraft, which participated and serves as an aerial museum of the Berlin Airlift; and two operational U.S. Border Patrol vehicles.

“It was priceless to also watch the students relive the great history of former Ramey Air Force Base and their participation in the Berlin Airlift by witnessing first hand the Spirit of Freedom C-54 aircraft,” said Bouboulis.

“We are very delighted to return to the former Ramey Air Force Base and now U.S. Coast Guard Air Station Borinquen on this multipurpose mission with the Ramey Air Force Base Historical Association and Military Families United,” said Timothy A. Chopp, President of the Berlin Airlift Historical Foundation and aircraft commander of the Douglass C-54 Spirit of Freedom. “We are here to honor the men who departed Ramey Air Force Base with 16 C-54’s to participate in the Berlin Airlift, to honor the heroes of Puerto Rico who lost their lives in Iraq and Afghanistan, to honor all veterans who served their country from Ramey Air Force Base, and to honor, “The Pride of the Caribbean,” the men and women of U.S. Coast Guard Air Station Borinquen.”

The crew of an Air Station Borinquen MH-65 Dolphin helicopter also performed two live search and rescue demonstrations for the students, who watched with enthusiasm as the helicopter crew deployed their rescue swimmer to execute a basket hoist of a training victim.

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