Coast Guard Cutter Hamilton Arctic Patrol – Aug. 24, 2008

Journal Entry – Aug. 24, 2008 – Cape Prince of Whales

The Coast Guard is extending High Endurance cutter operations from the Bering Sea into the Chukchi Sea, the Beaufort Sea, and the Arctic Ocean. This operation supports the Department of Homeland Security’s efforts to extend maritime safety and security to the Arctic region in the face of retreating polar sea ice. The Coast Guard Cutter Hamilton will be the lead cutter in the United States’ push to extend security to U.S. Arctic waters. As part of this historic operation, the Hamilton is providing daily journal entries.
Position: Bering Sea, 64-55.6N, 168-35.6W 45 NM South of Cape Prince of Whales

Weather: Winds: NW 20kts. Temp: 44 F. Sea Temp: 52 F. Seas/Swells: 4 feet.

cutter Hamilton Position

Crew Journal:

Written by BM3 Adam Herpin

Today was not your typical Sunday for the crew of USCGC HAMILTON. First, there is hardly ever a reveille pipe on Sunday so I was not accustomed to seeing so many shipmates up and about at 0800. Sunday morning breakfast was held at the usual time but again, there was a rather large amount of people present on the mess deck on this day of Sabbath. The reason for the change in the normal swing of things is that everyone was up preparing for what was going to be a long morning of Flight Quarters.

The first flight of the day we said farewell to the first professor ever to embark on this cutter for the purpose of teaching a college level course (US History). Shortly after the helicopter took off, we were in five minute standby, awaiting the return of our HELO with a very special guest. The flight deck party was an extra diligent in performing their Flying Object Debris (FOD) walk down, taking extreme care to ensure there was no debris on deck that could become a potential hazard to the helicopter and the ground crew. The Tie-downs and Landing Safety Officer (LSO) were aware that they would be the first impression Rear Admiral Brooks would have of Coast Guard Cutter HAMILTON and they wanted to make it a positive one.

Shortly after the FOD walk down, one of the tie-downs shouted “TALLY HO!” which is a phrase used to inform everyone the HELO is in sight. The helicopter made its usual fly-by of the ship and took station off the starboard quarter. The helicopter was then signaled by ENS Beck, the break-in LSO to commence the landing. As soon as the HELO touched down on deck and the TALON engaged, the signal was given and the Tie-downs dashed out onto the flight deck, under the blades of the helicopter to strap it down. The Tie-downs in training, under the watchful eyes of YN2 Hockler, SN Morgan, SN Domholt, and me, hooked the HELO to the deck and ADM Brooks stepped onboard the HAMILTON. There were two more flight evolutions to receive more distinguished guests, including a Commander from the Canadian Coast Guard.

Once onboard, the Admiral addressed the crew, informing us of the importance of the Coast Guard extending it’s reach into the Artic. He highlighted the fact that although there are disagreements as to how much of the Artic Territory belongs to the United States, we will still do our job of enforcing America’s laws and conducting Search and Rescue wherever required. The Coast Guard showed its colors after Hurricane Katrina when we were saving lives before anyone else knew what was going on. Now keeping with that tradition, the Coast Guard is showing the world that we do not know what parts of this new Artic Frontier belongs to whom, but we will be up there for whoever needs us.

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