The Coast Guard Aviation Training Center (ATC) in Mobile, Alabama is a multi-mission unit, acting as the Coast Guard's aviation and capabilities development center, as well as an operational air station. Training is conducted to qualify Coast Guard pilots in the MH-60 "Jayhawk", the MH-65 "Dolphin" , the HC-130 Hercules, the HC-130J Hercules, and the HC-144 "Ocean Sentry." All pilots initially trained at ATC return once a year for a one week proficiency course in their designated airframe. Serving within the Coast Guard's Force Readiness Command's Training Division (FC-T), the ATC Mobile evaluation center is responsible for ensuring that Coast Guard aviation forces are using the best equipment and tactics to successfully complete all required missions. The Operations Department, flying the HC-144A Ocean Sentry, is a segment within the ATC command that conducts traditional Coast Guard air station missions including Search and Rescue, Homeland Security, and Environmental Protection. The Operations Department operates under the tactical control of the Eighth Coast Guard District and has area of responsibility that extends from the Louisiana/Texas border to the eastern edge of the Florida panhandle.
Commanding Officer: Captain W. E. Sasser, Jr.
Captain Sasser returns to ATC Mobile from Alameda, CA where he served as the Executive Assistant (EA) to the Commander of Coast Guard Pacific Area. As EA he helped develop, shape, and execute strategic engagements and policy for the 3-Star Operational Commander. From 2012-2014 Captain Sasser served as Commanding Officer of Coast Guard Air Station San Francisco, where he led a multi-mission, special capabilities, globally deployable Air Station. After command, he reported to Santa Monica, CA as the Coast Guard’s 2014-2015 National Security Fellow at The RAND Corporation, a non-partisan public policy research institution.
Captain Sasser completed Boot Camp at Training Center Cape May in 1986 and reported to Group Fort Macon and later Station Swansboro as a drilling reservist. Upon graduating from OCS in 1994, he reported to Air Station New Orleans. His subsequent assignments include Coast Guard Air Station Kodiak; the Coast Guard’s Exchange Officer to the Royal Air Force (RAF); H65 Standardization Instructor Pilot at Aviation Training Center Mobile; the Naval Command and Staff College; US Northern Command, where he served on the Combatant Commander’s personal staff; and Coast Guard Air Station Los Angeles as both the Operations Officer and Executive Officer.
Captain Sasser has 4,000 military rotary wing flight hours and is an Alaskan Qualified Aviator. In 2002, he was awarded the Royal Air Force Cross (AFC) by Queen Elizabeth II during an investiture at Buckingham Palace. Captain Sasser was recognized for his performance of duty as aircraft commander of a RAF Mk3 Sea King during the night rescue of five mariners from a freighter on fire with a cargo of fertilizer and fuel on the North Sea. Captain Sasser and Captain Elmer Stone are the only two Coast Guard Officers to be awarded the AFC. He was later awarded the Distinguished Flying Cross for rescuing over 160 survivors from the floodwaters of Hurricane Katrina. His other personal awards include the Defense Meritorious Service Medal, two Meritorious Service Medals (O Device), and the Basic Training Honor Graduate Ribbon. Captain Sasser is also the recipient of the 2003 Vodafone/Daily Express Life Savers Award and the 2004 Pride of Britain Award. Additionally, Captain Sasser is the only RAF Exchange Officer in the 25 year program to earn the designation “Combat Ready (Advanced)”, a higher level of aircraft captaincy. In 2011, he was inducted into the Coast Guard Officer Candidate School Wall of Gallantry. He was also an honor graduate from Boatswain’s Mate “A” School.
Captain Sasser has a Bachelors in Justice and Public Policy, a Masters in Organizational Management, and a Masters in National Security and Strategic Studies (with Distinction) from the Naval War College, Newport, RI.
Captain Sasser is the son of Gene and Susie Sasser of Mount Olive, NC. He has been happily married to his wife, Cindy for twenty-five years. They have two daughters, Camber and Darcy, and two sons, Hayden and Liam.
The Aviation Training Center is committed to be the model Coast Guard aviation and support unit. We balance the needs of our people, our organizational commanders, and the public, in our plans, policies, and operations. When making decisions, we first consider how our actions will affect our people, by identifying, eliminating or minimizing the risks associated with those decisions in order to ensure mission safety. We recognize that if we support, respect, and challenge our people, they will deliver superior service and continuous improvement.
The mission of the Aviation Training Center (ATC) is to produce mission ready aircrews and develop aviation capabilities. We provide core training for rotary wing and fixed wing pilots, rescue swimmers and aircrews for air stations Coast Guard wide. We also serve as the Coast Guard's aviation capabilities development center. We provide direct aviation support to Coast Guard Atlantic Area and the Eighth Coast Guard District. We provide health and administrative services to military families throughout the Mobile metropolitan area, in order to enhance their ability to support Coast Guard operations. We strive to ensure the safe accomplishment of all mission tasking by implementing Coast Guard Safety and Health Programs that provide all employees and their families a safe and healthful environment.