Tag: HC-130 Hercules

Eyes in the sky: one air station’s Herculean efforts to stop drug smugglers

A Coast Guard HC-130 Hercules airplane crew from Air Station Elizabeth City, N.C., conducts pre-flight checks before departing the air station, Jan. 8, 2019. The crew embarked on a training flight during which mission system operators practiced using the airplane's camera, radar and other sensory equipment. U.S. Coast Guard photo by Petty Officer 2nd Class Corinne Zilnicki.

A Panga boat suspected of smuggling led a Coast Guard HC-130 Hercules aircrew and a cutter boat crew on a wild chase int he middle of the Caribbean Sea last October. With the Hercules aircrew serving as their eyes in the sky, the crew of Coast Guard Cutter Donald Horsley seized 600 kilograms of cocain that night. The crews of voluntarily deploy to Central America each year in support of Joint Interagency Task Force South find a sense of pride and departure from their normal routine.

Not a moment to spare

Wolfhound

It was another early Friday morning for the crew of a Coast Guard HC-130 Hercules based out of Air Station Elizabeth City, N.C. Fifty-knot winds roared around the airframe while the crew scoured the dark cauldron of 20-foot seas below for a boat. Rain lashed the plane, reducing visibility to less than a mile. Radar was next to useless and no one had been able to contact the distressed vessel. The only thing guiding the crew was an unregistered, but active, emergency position-indicating radio beacon, broadcasting a signal approximately 680 miles east from the U.S. and 75 miles north of Bermuda.