Coast Guard participates with AK Command in major Arctic rescue operation exercise

Royal Canadian Air Force C-130ANCHORAGE, Alaska — The U.S. Coast Guard will participate with Alaskan Command in a major exercise focused on multinational search and rescue readiness to respond to a mass rescue operation near and in the Arctic beginning Tuesday and ending Friday.

The exercise Arctic Chinook consists of an adventure-class ship traveling through the Bering Strait with approximately 250 passengers and crew aboard that experiences an incident that degrades to become a catastrophic event. A Coast Guard cutter will simulate the vessel experiencing a catastrophic incident. Coast Guard cutter and aviation crews will conduct six hoist operations with the Alaska Air National Guard and the Royal Canadian Air Force. The Coast Guard will also have Forward Operating Locations in Kotzebue and Tin City where role players will simulate injured victims. Mass care and sharing of incoming passengers will also take place at support communities.

The 17th Coast Guard District, Alaska National Guard, State of Alaska agencies, Alaska Native organizations, and Canadian Forces are all involved in the live-field training exercise. Arctic Chinook will feature several types of rescue helicopters and fixed-wing aircraft to conduct rescue, patient movement and medical evacuation efforts.

The exercise is a part of the U.S. Department of State-approved list of Arctic Council Chairmanship events and will be conducted with federal, state, local and international partners and industry to exercise elements of the Arctic Search and Rescue Agreement. The Arctic represents the intersection between geography and interests.

Arctic Chinook represents a unified efforts by the Coast Guard and its Alaskan Command partners to understand, anticipate and prepare for the challenges of a mass maritime rescue operation in the Arctic.

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