Coast Guard ice rescuers from Michigan return from Alaska on trip to cross-train with local first responders

9th Coast Guard District NewsCLEVELAND — Ice rescue instructors from the Coast Guard’s Ice Capabilities Center of Excellence, located at Station/Aids-to-Navigation Team Saginaw River in Essexville, Mich., returned Sunday from two weeks in Alaska, where they trained alongside local first responders in ice rescue techniques.

The Coast Guardsmen from the 9th Coast Guard District in the Great Lakes and the 17th Coast Guard District in Alaska trained with about 40 local emergency responders in Anchorage, Nome and Barrow, Alaska.

Although the staff of the ICCE are not strangers to training ice rescue teams, the Alaska trip allowed for their exchange of training techniques with a culture of people who endure some of the harshest conditions on earth

“The biggest thing that I brought back was reassurance that the techniques, skills and equipment we train at the Ice Center are similar to techniques used in the Arctic region,” said Master Chief Petty Officer Gerald Backus, officer-in-charge of STANT Saginaw River.

Backus notes another success came following a conversation he had with the fire chief in Barrow.

“He mentioned this was the first training event they’ve held in which they were able to get participation from so many emergency service members within the community.”

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