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HITRON History Series: CWO Charles Anthony Hopkins
In this documentary series, we spoke with Charles Anthony Hopkins. He retired as a Chief Warrant Officer with nearly 32 years in military service and was one of the original ten members to stand up Helicopter Interdiction Tactical Squadron (HITRON). Hopkins is a HITRON 10 member and recognized for his role in selecting and developing the team’s weapons systems and procedures.
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.
Interview by: Petty Officer 3rd Class Vincent Moreno
Edited by: Petty Officer 1st Class Adam Stanton
Film Credits: Video by Petty Officer 1st Class Adam Stanton
U.S. Coast Guard Atlantic Area
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