Coast Guard celebrates 223rd birthday, continues Arctic legacy

Coast Guard Alaska News
JUNEAU, Alaska — The Coast Guard 17th District will celebrate the service’s 223rd birthday this weekend and will welcome the Coast Guard’s only operational heavy icebreaker to Juneau.

The Coast Guard Cutter Polar Star, commanded by Capt. George Pellissier, completed its ice trials in the Arctic and tested the overall readiness of the icebreaker and its crew.

“After a thorough and successful Arctic patrol, our crew is excited and looking forward to more operational missions in the polar regions,” said Pellissier. “During our patrol we were able to successfully test the ship’s icebreaking capabilities and increase the crew’s experience with the ship’s systems.”

As the nation’s lead federal agency for ensuring maritime safety and security in the Arctic, the Coast Guard continues to perform its statutory missions in the Arctic to ensure it remains a safe, secure and environmentally protected region.

“The Coast Guard will play an increasingly important role, as development in the Arctic accelerates,” said Fran Ulmer, the chair of the U.S. Arctic Research Commission. “The Polar Star and other ice capable vessels are essential ingredients for our nation’s preparedness.”

The extreme environment and limited infrastructure create unique logistical challenges when conducting operations in the Arctic. To overcome these challenges, Coast Guard personnel continue to work closely with federal, state, local and tribal partners to ensure the protection of our nation’s Arctic interests. Arctic Shield 2013 operations focus on Western Alaska and the Bering Strait.

“The Coast Guard has a proud history of service and willingness to evolve to meet the country’s maritime needs,” said Rear Adm. Thomas P. Ostebo, commander, Coast Guard 17th District. “Arctic Shield is the platform we use to deploy assets such as the Polar Star to the region to fulfill our commitment to provide effective maritime safety, security and stewardship for our nation.”

To date, successful Arctic Shield 2013 operations have consisted of a Coast Guard forward operating location in Kotzebue, an international oil spill response exercise with the Canadian coast guard near Port Clarence, the Coast Guard’s historic deployment of a 110-foot patrol boat to the Arctic, Arctic domain awareness flights, cutter patrols, local government and tribal engagements, a Spill of National Significance seminar, a mass rescue operation workshop in Nome, and boating safety inspections and exams.

“As we celebrate the Coast Guard’s birthday, I’m proud that the men and women I serve with continue to protect our nation and the people of Alaska with honor, respect, and devotion to duty,” said Ostebo.

Click the photo for more pictures.

The crew of the Coast Guard Cutter Polar Star prepares to moor to the AJ Pier in Juneau, Alaska, Aug. 2, 2013. The crew invited residents of Juneau to tour the icebreaker during the Coast Guard's birthday weekend. (U.S. Coast Guard photo by Petty Officer 3rd Class Grant DeVuyst)

The crew of the Coast Guard Cutter Polar Star prepares to moor to the AJ Pier in Juneau, Alaska, Aug. 2, 2013. The crew invited residents of Juneau to tour the icebreaker during the Coast Guard’s birthday weekend. (U.S. Coast Guard photo by Petty Officer 3rd Class Grant DeVuyst)

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