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Air Station Port Angeles

The Coast Guard's presence in Port Angeles, Washington, began 130 years ago on Aug. 1, 1862, with the arrival of the Shubrick, the first Revenue Cutter to be home ported on the Olympic Peninsula. Ediz Hook, a level sand spit extending from the mainland north and east into the Strait of Juan De Fuca, was declared a Federal Lighthouse Reservation by President Lincoln in 1863. The first lighthouse was commissioned on April 1, 1865.

Group Port Angeles has responsibility for the operational units in their area which include: Station Neah Bay in Neah Bay, Wash.; Station Quillayute River in LaPush, Wash.; the 110-foot USCGC Cuttyhunk in Port Angeles; the new 87-foot USCGC Osprey, in Port Townsend, Wash.,87-foot USCGC Adelie, in Port Angeles; and three HH-65A Dolphin helicopters stationed at Air Station Port Angeles, Wash.

Missions include: search and rescue, law enforcement, aids to navigation, marine environmental protection, and enforcement of laws and treaties. Because of the range of the HH-65A, the helicopters often respond to missions as far north as Vancouver, British Columbia. In addition, the air station frequently responds to calls for assistance in logging and other inland accidents. The group provides personnel, supply, administration, naval and civil engineering, communications and other support functions for group units. Existing facilities include the hangar, administrative and support facilities, exchange, medical, and dental clinic. The docks serve as pier facilities for the cutters Cuttyhunk, Adelie and a 41-foot utility boat. The pier can accommodate vessels up to 400 feet long.

CGAS Port Angeles was built in 1934. Its location was chosen for its strategic position for coastal defense of the Northwest. The air station was commissioned by the first commanding officer, Lt. Carl G. Bowman, June 1, 1935, becoming the first Coast Guard air station on the Pacific Coast. Established to aid in law enforcement and anti-smuggling operations, the station almost immediately became involved in what is today its primary mission: protection of life and property at sea.

At the outbreak of World War II, the Air Station became an important outpost for the defense of the Northwest and a gunnery school was established to train aerial gunners and local defense. By the summer of 1942 most of the airplanes stationed here were kept busy investigating reports of enemy submarines in the Strait of Juan de Fuca and offshore waters. Other planes were used for convoy escort duty and for towing practice targets for the gunnery school. By 1943 the Air Station had responsibility for all Coast Guard antisubmarine and rescue activities down to the California border. By this time there were detachments of aircraft and boats at Neah Bay, WA, Quillayute, WA, Astoria, OR, and North Bend, OR.

The Air Station was also the home of the only Coast Guard Land Rescue Team, which proved instrumental in saving the lives of many naval pilots who crashed in this region while engaged in the massive training effort for the war. Additional duties of the Station included the operation of a Harbor Pilot Station, a Navy Routing Office, which was responsible for the coordination of shipping movements in the Northwest, and the operation of a Port Security office in Port Angeles.

CGAS Port Angeles has had several responsibilities and has had many different seaplanes and helicopters assigned. The fixed wing inventory has included such notables as the Douglas RD-l Dolphin, Hall Aluminum PH2, Grumman JF-2 Duck, Grumman JRF-2 Goose, Grumman UH-16E Albatross, Boeing PB-1G Fortress, and the Douglas R4D-5 Skytrain.

The post Truman era through the 70's saw decades of development for CGAS Port Angeles as helicopters became the mainstay of the station's aircraft. In succession the helicopters employed have been the Sikorsky HNS-1, Bell H-13, Sikorsky HO-4S, and still in service today after 19 years is the Sikorsky HH-52A. The station was turned into an all- helicopter outfit in 1976 with the departure of the last Grumman Albatross.

Group/Air Station Port Angeles was mission coordinator for a two and half ton cocaine seizure Feb. 22, 2001, aboard the fishing vessel Western Wind. The Coast Guard cutters Osprey, Cowslip and Orcas intercepted the vessel off the Washington coast after a tip from the Royal Canadian Mounted Police. This is the largest maritime seizure of cocaine in Washington state.

Port Angeles in located in the Northwest Corner of Washington State. Port Angeles is the County seat for Clallam County, located on US Highway 101, between Sequim and Forks 80 miles northwest of Seattle.

The Port of Port Angeles owns and operates two deep-water terminals (T1 and T3) with the ability to accommodate a wide variety of vessels from barges to supertankers. The main cargoes shipped across the Port's Marine Terminals are forest products in the form of logs and lumber. The City of Port Angeles is working with the City of Victoria, BC, Canada to expand and enhance our mutual interests in promoting tourism and economic development.

 



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