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KODIAK, Alaska — Coast Guard Air Station Kodiak positioned assets in Cordova in preparation for the upcoming spring and summer fishing seasons in Prince William Sound and the Gulf of Alaska.
Air station personnel deployed an MH-60 Jayhawk helicopter and support crew to Cordova on April 30, in an effort to reduce search and rescue response times during a known period of increased maritime activity.
The Coast Guard will alternate between an MH-60 Jayhawk helicopter and an MH-65 Dolphin helicopter and crews from May through September. The forward deployed crews will receive logistical support from Air Station Kodiak based HC-130 Hercules aircrews throughout their deployment. Additional Coast Guard aircraft remain in Kodiak to respond to search and rescue cases which may arise elsewhere in the state.
"Having the Coast Guard Air Station helicopter crews forward deployed to Cordova essentially splits the air station's area of responsibility into two, helping our response times to be more rapid and effective in the Prince William Sound and Gulf of Alaska areas," said Lt. Mark Heussner, an Air Station Kodiak MH-60 Jayhawk helicopter pilot. "Even during the summer time when the weather is warmer it is still vital that rescue crews are able to respond to a maritime emergency quickly because the waters of Alaska are still frigid and dangerous to mariners."
Forward deployed aircrews from Air Station Kodiak saved seven lives and assisted 28 others during the 2011 Cordova deployment.