Coast Guard Aviation Association

Coast Guard Station Elizabeth City set to mark 82nd year: Article by

By Kip Tabb, 08/09/2022

The Coast Guard’s largest aviation facility, Air Station Elizabeth City has grown from 249 to 800 acres, and from 60 to 2,000 personnel and employees since being commissioned Aug. 15, 1940.

Now the Coast Guard’s largest aviation facility and biggest employer in the area, the base on the south side of Elizabeth City covers some 800 acres, a far cry from the original 249 acres when it first began operations Aug. 15, 1940.

When the station was commissioned, there were only four officers, 52 enlisted men and 10 aircraft including three Hall PH-2 seaplanes, four Fairchild J2K landplanes, and three Grumman JF-2 amphibians, according to Coast Guard Aviation History, a project of the Coast Guard Aviation Association.

Today, there is a combined workforce of around 2,000 Coast Guard personnel and civilian employees, making it the largest employer in northeastern North Carolina, according to the state archives.

The station’s core mission is search and rescue, but it also has aerial patrols as diverse as iceberg tracking in the Atlantic to monitoring shipping from the Atlantic Coast to the Azores.

Until recently, the base handled the training of the service’s rescue swimmers. After 30 years here, the training has temporarily moved to Petaluma, California. The renovated facility should reopen in 2025, according to the Coast Guard website.

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