Coast Guard Helicopter Interdiction Tactical Squadron to hold change of command ceremony

7th Coast Guard District News
JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – A change of command ceremony immediately followed by a retirement ceremony is scheduled to be held at the Coast Guard Helicopter Interdiction Tactical Squadron, Friday at 10 a.m.

Captain Donna L. Cottrell will relieve Capt. Joseph T. Baker during a time-honored military tradition to formally transfer command.

Baker has served as the commanding officer of HITRON for two years and will retire after 31-years of military service.

Over his time in the Coast Guard, Baker has served in a number of operational and staff billets including chief of aeronautical engineering at Coat Guard Headquarters, commanding officer of flight training squadron VT-2 at Naval Air Station Whiting Field, Training Air Wing Five air operations officer, aeronautical engineering officer and executive officer at Air Station Borinquen located in Puerto Rico.

HITRON is America’s first airborne law enforcement unit trained and authorized to employ Airborne Use of Force (AUF). Due to HITRON’s unique capabilities and training, the unit is tasked to develop AUF tactics to counter possible terrorist threats to the United States.

HITRON aircrews deploy aboard Coast Guard cutters for 30-60 days and are typically deployed approximately 120 days per year to intercept go-fast style vessels suspected of smuggling narcotics.

Presiding over the event will be Vice Adm. Manson K. Brown, commander Coast Guard Pacific Area.

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