SAN DIEGO – The U.S. Coast Guard Cutter Boutwell returned home to San Diego Monday after a two-and-a-half-month deployment to the Bering Sea, which included operations through the Bering Strait and in the Arctic Ocean.
While on patrol, Boutwell’s crew conducted 26 fisheries-enforcement boardings on commercial fishing vessels and patrolled the Maritime Boundary Line between Russia and the United States. By actively patrolling this boundary, Boutwell’s crew helped deter illegal fishing by foreign vessels in the U.S. Exclusive Economic Zone.
“Although Boutwell is often deployed to the eastern Pacific for counterdrug deployments, Alaska patrols highlight how much Coast Guard mission types can vary,” said Capt. Edward Westfall, Boutwell’s Commanding Officer. “Over the past months, this crew has participated in search and rescue evolutions, patrolled critical economic boundary lines, provided safety zone support for high profile oil drilling assets, and enforced fishing regulations in the world’s busiest fishing area. We have an exceptional crew onboard, who never ceases to amaze with their stellar performance on a daily basis. It was a job well done by all.”
Assisting Boutwell during these past two months was an H-65 Dolphin helicopter and a forward deployed aviation crew detached from Coast Guard Air Station Kodiak, Alaska. This airframe allowed Boutwell to expand its surveillance and search and rescue capabilities.
During the 75-day deployment, Boutwell’s embarked helicopter crew airlifted three patients during two separate rescue operations. The first medical evacuation removed two ailing patients from King Cove to medical facilities in Cold Bay, Alaska. The second involved transporting a patient with severe abdominal pain from False Pass to Cold Bay. As a result of these efforts, all patients were able to receive the medical care they needed.
During port calls, Boutwell also organized many events to improve community relations and promote physical fitness. Several members of the crew volunteered at an animal shelter in Kodiak while others also got involved with public works projects on the remote island of Adak. The crew even organized a five-kilometer run in Dutch Harbor to give them a mid-patrol physical fitness challenge.
After a brief rest in homeport, Boutwell will represent the Coast Guard this October during Fleet Week in San Francisco.