You’ve seen the bright orange helicopters speeding to a scene to rescue those in peril, gunning outboard motors on go-fast boats during counter narcotic missions or thwarting potential threats in secure air spaces. In a typical year, the Coast Guard responds to 20,000 search-and-rescue cases and save more than 3,500 lives. Search and rescue, saving lives, protecting the home front whether on land, sea or air – these are just some of the core missions the brave men and women of the Coast Guard carry out every single day.
However, most if not all of these critical missions would not take place if it wasn’t for the highly trained maintenance aircrews diligently working behind the scenes ensuring the safety of those before they even take to the air.
For Petty Officer 1st Class Andrew Anton, an avionics electrical technician at the Coast Guard’s National Capital Region Air Defense Facility, this maintenance can mean the difference between life and death.
“Proper maintenance on the ground is so incredibly important,” said Anton. “When you’re flying, there’s a million spinning objects in the air waiting to kill you.”
With a mindset like that it’s no wonder why Anton was recently recognized as Aerospace Control Alert Maintainer of the Year for the Continental U.S. NORAD Region. He was selected from among 42 Air Force, Air National Guard, Army National Guard, and Canadian Air Force nominees. Anton was also the sole Coast Guard enlisted member nominated for the award and the only rotary-wing alert detachment represented in the NORAD Operation Noble Eagle inventory of alert aviation forces.