Coast Guard Air Station Elizabeth City was commissioned in August 1940 with four officers and 52 enlisted men. In 2012, personnel numbers at CGAS number in the thousands, and the base is one of the busiest air stations in the Coast Guard, operating missions as far away as Greenland and the Caribbean.
Because of its importance to this community, the Elizabeth City Area Chamber of Commerce is a key supporter of an annual Coast Guard Week, the first week in August.
“Thank goodness for the Coast Guard presence in Elizabeth City, and we recognize their personnel every August during a week-long observation,” says Jennifer Palestrant, Elizabeth City Area Chamber of Commerce president.
One of the key events organized by the chamber is a Harbor Nights Concert in Waterfront Park. The August 2011 concert featured rising country music artist Ashton Shepherd. The USO of North Carolina also helped schedule the performance.
“The Ashton Shepherd show brought 2,500 spectators to Waterfront Park, which was at least 1,000 more people than had been in attendance at the other Coast Guard concerts,” Palestrant says.
Search, Rescue and More
CGAS Elizabeth City is located at Elizabeth City Regional Airport. The base also houses an Aviation Technical Training Center that trains Coast Guardsmen in aviation, and an Aviation Logistics Center. Missions from the base include search and rescue, maritime law enforcement, operating lighthouses, responding to environmental disasters, and providing international ice patrol.
“Elizabeth City is a maritime community, so having the Coast Guard here is ideal,” Palestrant says. “By the way, the base was even used as a setting in the Kevin Costner film, The Guardian.”
Read more about the coast guard in Elizabeth City, NC.