CLEARWATER – The city of Clearwater was re-designated a Coast Guard City on Aug. 4 at a ceremony to recognize the city’s support and commitment to the agency.
The designation, endorsed by Congress and the Coast Guard, was made to recognize the outstanding support the community provides to Coast Guard personnel and their families. Men, women and their families from Coast Guard Air Station Clearwater, Station Sand Key and Sector St. Petersburg call Clearwater home.
The city of Clearwater was designated a Coast Guard City in December 2011. Only 21 cities in the United States have received that designation. Clearwater was the 13th city to be designated a Coast Guard City. The Clearwater Regional Chamber of Commerce initiated the application process for both the original designation and this year’s re-designation. Once a city has been designated a Coast Guard City, it must reapply for designation every five years.
The U.S. Coast Guard Air Station Clearwater is the busiest air station in the Coast Guard. Their area of operations includes the Gulf of Mexico, the Caribbean basin and the Bahamas. They maintain deployed MH-60 Jayhawk helicopter air crews for Operations Bahamas, Turks and Caicos (OPBAT), a joint operation with Drug Enforcement Agency, Coast Guard, Bahamas and Turks and Caicos to interdict drug and migrant smuggling operations in the Bahamas. The U.S. Coast Guard Air Station Clearwater also deploys HC-130 Hercules fixed-wing air crews in support of Joint Interagency Taskforce South operations in the Caribbean and Central America. This is done while simultaneously maintaining a round-the-clock Search and Rescue response at home in Florida.