Coast Guard Cutter Healy crew returns from the North Pole

Cmdr. Karl Lander (left), executive officer of the Coast Guard Cutter Healy, reads the Coast Guard Unit Commendation award as Capt. Jason Hamilton, commanding officer of the Healy, presents representatives from each cutter department with ribbons as Rear Adm. Richard Gromlich (right), commander of Coast Guard 13th District, observes after mooring in Seattle, Oct. 29, 2015. The crew of the Healy received the award for their exceptional service during their Arctic West Summer 2015, where they were a part of being the first unaccompanied U.S. vessel to reach the North Pole, lead an interagency search and rescue, became the first vessel to broadcast live feed from ice-bound Arctic waters, hosted industry partners, provided media and community outreach, engaged with the crew of the German icebreaker Polarstern while at the North Pole and provided support for the international scientific effort Geotraces. (U.S. Coast Guard photo by Petty Officer 3rd Class Amanda Norcross)

Cmdr. Karl Lander (left), executive officer of the Coast Guard Cutter Healy, reads the Coast Guard Unit Commendation award as Capt. Jason Hamilton, commanding officer of the Healy, presents representatives from each cutter department with ribbons. (U.S. Coast Guard photo by Petty Officer 3rd Class Amanda Norcross)

SEATTLE – The crew of the Coast Guard Cutter Healy returned to Seattle after completing four months of Arctic operations, Thursday.

Their return marks the completion of an Arctic expedition which culminated in the crews’ historic arrival at the North Pole and was the first time a U.S. surface vessel has reached 90°N unaccompanied.

The crew conducted two separate missions that included operations in the Bering Sea, Chukchi Sea and Arctic Ocean.

Coast Guard Research and Development Center members joined the crew of the Healy, a 420-foot Medium Endurance Icebreaker, for the third consecutive year to continue their research of Arctic technologies including: remotely operated vehicles, small unmanned aerial systems, an autonomous underwater vehicle and an unmanned surface vehicle.

The crew departed Dutch Harbor, Alaska, Aug. 9 for Geotraces, an international effort to study the distribution of trace elements in the world’s oceans to establish the effects of these elements on global climate change.

Healy was commissioned in 1999 and is the nation’s newest and largest U.S. high latitude icebreaker, with extensive scientific capabilities. The cutter is based out of Seattle with a permanent crew of 87. The cutter’s primary mission is scientific support, but is also capable of conducting search and rescue, ship escort, environmental protection, and the enforcement of laws and treaties in the Polar Regions.

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