Coast Guard Aviation Maintenance Technician takes to the skys to re-enlist

SEAL BEACH, Calif. – Coast Guard 2nd Class Petty Officer Joe Morales will re-enlist in the Coast Guard tomorrow in a very unique way: hovering above the water in a helicopter.

Joe Morales is a Coast Guard Aviation Maintenance Technician (AMT) at Coast Guard Air Station Los Angeles, and after 10 years in the service, will re-enlist and renew his commitment to the Coast Guard. As part of the renlistment ceremony, a hoist demonstration for McGaugh Elementary School, where his son attends, will take place. The demonstration, scheduled to take place near Seal Beach Pier, will show a helicopter hoist of a rescue swimmer to the water. Petty Officer Morales will be retaking the oath of office from the helicopter’s pilot, Lieutenant Commander Josh Miller prior to the hoist.

As an AMT at the air station, Petty Officer Morales has a number of responsibilities that include servicing, troubleshooting and repairing all aspects of the HH-65C “Dolphin” helicopters at the air station. As a collateral duty he is also a part of the helicopter aircrew and plays a vital role on various missions and search and rescue cases. Morales is also an instructor, helping to teach and train new flight mechanics in the tasks required of the air crew position.

Air Station Los Angeles is located at Los Angeles International Airport (LAX). The unit began as an aviation detachment in August 1962, with one HO-4S helicopter from Air Station San Diego. Air Station Los Angeles was commissioned in November 1962 with two HO-4S helicopters, nine officers, and twenty enlisted personnel. In May 1963, the unit switched to three HH-52A “Sea Guard” helicopters, which remained in service until November 1987. The Air Station moved to its present location in August 1987 and transitioned to the HH-65A “Dolphin” helicopter. In 2002 the Air Station received one additional helicopter. Over the years, the Air Station upgraded to the HH-65B and to its current model, the HH-65C helicopter. Twenty-two officers and 68 enlisted personnel presently staff the air station.

Air Station Los Angeles maintains a Search and Rescue helicopter 24 hours a day, 365 days a year and is responsible for protecting the coastal area of Southern California. The area of responsibility begins at the San Diego County and Orange County border to the south near Dana Point and extends north to the San Luis Obispo County and Monterey County border near Morro Bay. The area reaches west 200 miles out to sea and covers approximately 20,000 square miles. On average, 200 SAR (search and rescue) cases are prosecuted every year. In addition to SAR, Air Station LA helicopters provide Homeland Security Patrols for the Ports of Los Angeles and Long Beach, and Port Hueneme in Ventura County.

The Air Station responsibilities also include, Law enforcement, Aids to Navigation, Environmental Response, and Military Operations.

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