October 20, 2021

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HITRON 10 Founding Members: Retired Chief Warrant Officer Ray Strobinski Jr.

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HITRON 10 Founding Members: Retired Chief Warrant Officer Ray Strobinski Jr.
PORTSMOUTH, VA, UNITED STATES
01.06.2021

In this documentary series, we spoke with retired Chief Warrant Officer Ray Strobinski Jr.

Strobinski was one of the first Helicopter Interdiction Tactical Squadron gunners and shares what that role entailed.

HITRON operations started as an experiment in 1998 to halt the flow of illegal drugs into the U.S. Drug trafficking organizations primarily used "go-fast" boats, high-speed smuggling vessels capable of traveling over twice the speed of Coast Guard cutters. The Coast Guard needed a way to counter the threat.

In late 1998, six Coast Guard pilots and four enlisted aircrew members developed tactics and procedures to utilize armed helicopters operating aboard Coast Guard cutters to answer the call.

HITRON helicopters operate in known smuggling vectors and rely on expertly trained aircrews and precision marksmen to disable go-fast drug smuggling vessels in the event suspects refuse to comply with verbal and visual warnings for law enforcement boardings under international maritime law. This series focuses on the founding members, pioneers, and stakeholders who have played an essential part in HITRON’s history.

Film Credits: Video by Petty Officer 2nd Class Adam Stanton
U.S. Coast Guard Atlantic Area

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