We know there are viable threats that can happen on U.S. soil, but what about those with a maritime nexus? The Coast Guard’s Maritime Security Response Team West out of San Diego trains in tactical operations year round maintaining high levels of marksmanship, fast-roping and small boat maneuvering. Recently they traveled to the small town of Cordova, Alaska, to help the city and state of Alaska stay ready while also practicing their own missions in the unique environment that Alaska offers.
Military families sacrifice a lot for their nation such as deployments, missing out on milestones and relocation. Military Family Month was created to celebrate the service and sacrifice of the patriots and families who make up America’s military. For one Coast Guard family, staying involved in the community and being active outdoors has helped Petty Officer 1st Class Casey Lawrence and her family stay resilient and loving the Alaskan lifestyle.
This year marks the 100th anniversary of the sinking of the Canadian passenger steamer Princess Sophia. Princess Sophia had run aground in southeast Alaska and was unable to deploy its lifeboats, taking down with it at least 353 people. Today the Coast Guard conducts modern cruish ship exams placing emphasis on crew proficiency during emergencies to avoid another tragedy like the Princess Sophia.
The Coast Guard Cutter Mellon, homeported in Seattle, and its 180 crew members embark every year on their Alaskan patrol from Dutch Harbor, Alaska, the nation’s top fishing port. The Mellon and its crew divide their patrols between the Pacific Ocean adjacent to Mexico and Guatemala. In the Eastern Pacific, offshore South America, the crew interdicts drug smugglers in the Joint Interagency Task Force – South area of responsibility.
In the Bering Sea, the Mellon crew keeps a lookout for mariners in distress and enforces laws and regulations related to the preservation of U.S. fisheries stocks.
It’s a story that sounds as if it were pulled right from the movies. High winds, rough seas, a rescue helicopter low on fuel and a crew determined to save a life. But the danger was real for the Kodiak, Alaska-based Coast Guard MH-60 Jayhawk helicopter crew on a mission to save the life of a cargo vessel crewman. In the end the crew gets the man to safety and the pilot earned a prestigious award for his efforts.
Today, the Coast Guard’s newest fast response cutter, Coast Guard Cutter John F. McCormick, officially entered the fleet. While fast response cutters have been in the fleet since 2012, this marks a significant moment for the Coast Guard’s operations in Alaska and in the region, as McCormick is the first of its class to be stationed in the state and the first on the west coast.
The health service technicians and personnel that make up the Coast Guard Rockmore-King Medical Clinic on Alaska’s Kodiak Island were named the 2015 Health Clinic Facility of the Year for their professionalism and patient care while dealing with the unique challenges of operating in a rural, geographically isolated community, along with the comprehensive care they provided to all Coast Guard assets patrolling the North Pacific and Bering Sea. The award is presented annually to recognize outstanding performance and contribution by a Coast Guard health care facility.
Coast Guard Cutter Spar recently deployed to the Arctic and Bering Sea in support of Operation Arctic Shield 2016. During the patrol, the cutter had the opportunity to carry out an often overlooked role of the Coast Guard in Alaska, community relations. It’s nearly impossible for those raised in the lower 48, where even the most rural areas are connected by highway and railroad to major cities and centers of production, to fully understand what life is like in remote Alaskan communities. The Spar’s participation in this unique community relations role helped link these remote regions of “the Last Frontier” to the rest of the nation. Read the full story!
Built in 1902 by the U.S. Lighthouse Service, which became part of the Coast Guard in 1939, the Five Finger Islands Light once guided prospectors into southeast Alaska during the Klondike Gold Rush and still welcomes mariners, tourists and scientists today.
“The U.S. is an Arctic nation. The Coast Guard has provided presence and access to the Arctic region since the 1860s – the time of Capt. Mike Healy. This ship, which carries his name, continues that proud tradition. This summer we will demonstrate how we continue to provide access to the furthest regions of the globe.”