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Mon, Apr 29, 2024

USCG Retires MH-65 Dolphins From Fleet

USCG MH-65 Dolphin Helicopters Retired

After 36 years of dedicated service to Alaska's Arctic region, the Coast Guard's MH-65 Dolphin helicopters were officially retired in a ceremony at Air Station Kodiak.

The event marked the end of an era for the venerable aircraft known for its reliability and crucial role in search and rescue operations across one of the most remote parts of the United States.

The ceremony, led by Capt. Timothy Williams, the commanding officer of Air Station Kodiak, celebrated the achievements and the critical missions carried out by the Dolphin fleet and its crews. These helicopters have been an integral part of the Coast Guard's airborne capabilities, particularly in executing the Alaska Patrol (ALPAT) missions, which involved complex operations over vast and often treacherous terrains.

The retirement of the MH-65 Dolphin makes way for the transition to a more modern fleet. Air Station Kodiak will enhance its operational readiness by expanding its current fleet of six MH-60 Jayhawk helicopters to nine by 2025. This move is part of a broader initiative within the Coast Guard, transitioning to a single-type rotary-wing fleet across several stations, including Air Stations Borinquen, Traverse City, and New Orleans, which have recently undergone similar updates.

The MH-60 Jayhawk helicopters, which will replace the Dolphins, are expected to provide greater endurance, range, and capabilities, crucial for the demanding missions in Alaskan waters. Cmdr. James Kenshalo, a seasoned MH-65 Dolphin pilot, highlighted the historical importance of the helicopter-cutter teams. According to Kenshalo, these teams have been pivotal in projecting force and protection into the nation's most isolated regions, often beyond the reach of immediate help, thereby saving countless lives through their missions.

This transition not only represents a significant upgrade in technology and capability for the Coast Guard but also honors the legacy of the MH-65 Dolphin and its crews, whose bravery and service have safeguarded the waters and residents of Alaska for over three decades. As Air Station Kodiak turns a new page in its operational history, the spirit and heroism of the Dolphin fleet will undoubtedly influence future missions, continuing a proud tradition of vigilance and service.

FMI: www.uscg.mil

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