El Monte Troop 551 Visit U.S. Coast Guard Air Station

  • (Photos by Mark Peters.)
  • (Photos by Mark Peters.)
  • (Photos by Mark Peters.)
  • (Photos by Mark Peters.)
  • (Photos by Mark Peters.)
  • (Photos by Mark Peters.)
  • (Photos by Mark Peters.)
  • (Photos by Mark Peters.)
  • (Photos by Mark Peters.)
  • (Photos by Mark Peters.)

by Mark Peters

El Monte

Los Angeles – The crew of U.S. Coast Guard Air Station (LAX), Los Angeles, CA. hosted El Monte Troop 551 on Saturday, July 19th, 2014.
We’re “always prepared” to have fun at Troop 551! We had an exciting opportunity to tour the U.S. Coast Guard Air Station located at the foot of the Los Angeles Airport.  The crew that assisted with the tour was LT Mike Freeman, LCDR Chris Grooms, and AST3 Clark Hoeffle.  LT Darin Coleman was the one that did all the work setting up the event for us.  Pilot/Flight Services Officer, LT Mike Freeman stated “It was a true pleasure having your scouts come join us; they were very well behaved, inquisitive, and fun.  I hope they relish this memory as we enjoyed it.”
U.S. Coast Guard Air Station Los Angeles is located at Los Angeles International Airport (LAX).  The unit started as an aviation detachment in 1962 with two HO-4s helicopters and has since grown to a station supporting four MH-65C “Dolphin” Helicopters.  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 from Dana Point to Morro Bay.   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 kids were treated to a three hour tour to learn about the Coast Guards vital mission of Law Enforcement and public safety here on the Pacific Coast. We were able to see some of the equipment that is used and learn how it is used by these brave men and women.
The group of eight Boy Scouts, Webelos and Cubs with their parents were given a tour of the air station that included an overview of life at a Coast Guard station, a hands-on showing of MH-65C “Dolphin” Helicopters, with the Cubs being allowed to climb in the rescue basket and the troop also allowed to sit and learn about the instruments and cockpit of the “Dolphin”.  Each Troop member was allowed to sit in the pilot seat and co-pilot seat with instruction on what was on the instrument panel and how the helicopter flies.  The tour then moved to the “Ops” center also known as the radio command room where the calls come in for rescue and emergencies.  All flights and operations are monitored from this room.  Webelos Roman was able to “flip” the switch on the emergency alarm that sounded throughout the station.  From their LT Mike Freeman and LCDR Chris Grooms took the Troop to the Wardroom, the common recreation area and dining room for the commissioned officers on a warship or Naval Base.  The Wardroom allows full view of the helipad and hanger for the station as well as a great shot of LAX.
The last part of the tour was also the most entertaining for the kids.   AST3 Clark Hoeffle took the Troop into the Rescue Swimmers lair.  Here the kids were able to try their turn at pull-ups, push-ups, putting on a swimmers rescue vest.
The purpose of the tour was to provide a glimpse of what the Coast Guard does on a daily basis and educate the boy scouts on what it truly means “To be prepared” as the Troop got a glimpse of service members who are always ready and always faithful.   The goal is that these children are the future leaders of our country and may enter the armed services some day and with extensive tours such as these the kids of Troop 551 now have a deeper appreciation of what “being of service” means.

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