Coast Guard sponsored musher takes 4th in Iditarod

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Coast Guard sponsored Iditarod racer Ken Anderson departs on the race re-start point of the 38th edition of the Iditarod in Willow, Alaska. (U.S. Coast Guard photo by Petty Officer 1st Class David Mosley) Click the image to view more photos from the restart.
Coast Guard sponsored Iditarod racer Ken Anderson departs on the race re-start point of the 38th edition of the Iditarod in Willow, Alaska. (U.S. Coast Guard photo by Petty Officer 1st Class David Mosley)

When the 2010 Iditarod came to a close, Coast Guard sponsored musher Ken Anderson added another top-5 finish to his storied racing career and the Coast Guard added a new kind of hero to its ranks.

After suffering what should have been a race-ending accident halfway through the race, Anderson found himself in 19th place as the Iditarod began to wind down. A valiant move that saw Anderson and his dogs brave the elements and push the limits of their collective endurance moved the team into 4th place with a day to go. While he wouldn’t move any further up the standings, his race is one that will be talked about for years to come.

For Rear Admiral Christopher Colvin, 17th Coast Guard District commander, the final days of the race was reminiscent of a 114-year-old piece of Coast Guard history.

“As Ken Anderson begins his final push to the finish line I am reminded of Lieutenant Jarvis’ heroic rescue,” said Rear Adm. Christopher Colvin, commander of the Seventeenth Coast Guard District.  “Let’s hope Ken’s finish is nearly as rewarding.”

In what was called the “Overland Rescue Expedition,” an enthralled nation closely followed the exploits of this small team of Coast Guardsmen.  Between December and March of 1897-98, Lieutenant David H. Jarvis‘ team mushed over 1,000 miles from Nunivak Island to Cape Wales then on to Point Barrow pushing a herd of 300 reindeer and eventually rescuing 265 starving men stranded on whaling ships beset in the ice.  For many years this was considered the greatest Coast Guard rescue ever.

Ken Anderson’s relationship with the Coast Guard is far from over. Ken and his dogs will be joined by Guardians on a tour of Alaska schools where he will talk about the race and the core values of the United States Coast Guard.

A hearty Bravo Zulu to Ken Anderson and his dogs on a successful 2010 Iditarod!

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