Last Coast Guard MH-65 helicopter to depart Air Station Traverse City Monday

A Coast Guard air crew aboard a Dolphin helicopter, from Air Station Traverse City, Mich., flies over a frozen Lake Michigan in the vicinity of Frankfort, Mich., March 10, 2014. The air crew conducted training with an ice rescue team from Coast Guard Station Frankfort as both units prepare for possible emergency situations. (U.S. Coast Guard photo courtesy of Air Station Traverse City)

A Coast Guard air crew aboard a MH-60 Dolphin helicopter, from Air Station Traverse City, Mich., flies over a frozen Lake Michigan in the vicinity of Frankfort, Mich., March 10, 2014.  (U.S. Coast Guard photo courtesy of Air Station Traverse City)

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

This event also marks the completion of the Air Station’s MH-65 to MH-60T Jayhawk 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 (HITRON) in Jacksonville, FL.

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

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