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    HITRON History Series: Patrick Merrigan, Cmdr. USCG (Ret)

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    COLORADO SPRINGS, CO, UNITED STATES

    02.10.2021

    Video by Cmdr. Ace Castle 

    U.S. Coast Guard Atlantic Area

    In this documentary series, we spoke with Patrick Merrigan, Cmdr. USCG (Ret). Merrigan retired as a Commander with 30 years of military service. He was not only one of the original ten members to stand up Helicopter Interdiction Tactical Squadron (HITRON), but was also the Mission Commander for the first HITRON bust. Additionally, seven of his 30 years of service were as a Marine, where he was a helo assault pilot during Operation Urgent Fury in Grenada.

    Helicopter Interdiction Tactical Squadron 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 1st Class Adam Stanton
    Edited by: Petty Officer 1st Class Adam Stanton

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    VIDEO INFO

    Date Taken: 02.10.2021
    Date Posted: 09.14.2022 22:49
    Category: Series
    Video ID: 857346
    VIRIN: 220914-G-G0100-1001
    Filename: DOD_109217716
    Length: 00:03:00
    Location: COLORADO SPRINGS, CO, US 
    Hometown: COMMACK, NY, US

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