Station Menemsha celebrates Armed Forces Day

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U.S. Coast Guard Station Menemsha invited the public to tour its facilities and vessels on Saturday, and brought in a Jayhawk helicopter from Air Station Cape Cod for folks to explore.

“I was really excited about the turnout we had,” Senior Chief Justin Longval, officer in charge of Station Menemsha, said.

Longval said in addition to sharing the station with the community, the event was meant to acknowledge Armed Forces Day and National Safe Boating Week.

For kids especially, but plenty of adults too, being able to climb into the cockpit of an MH60T Jayhawk helicopter was a rare experience.

The open house was also an opportunity for Flotilla 11-9, the Vineyard’s Coast Guard auxiliary unit, to award its member-of-the-year award to Wayne Iacono.

Cape and Islands division commander Alden Lumbard presented Iacono with an award plaque on the docks by the station’s 47-foot motor lifeboats. Each of those vessels was open for the public to explore.

Flotilla 11-9 commander Joe Berini said Iacono received the award because of the great amount of time he dedicates to patrols with the Coast Guard and in watchstanding he does at Station Menemsha.

Chief Longval said he hoped the day sparked a greater connection with the community and made it clear the station’s doors are actually always open.

“Now they know they don’t have to have a reason to come to the Coast Guard station — they’re always welcome,” he said.