Coast Guard Plans Arctic Deployment to Barrow

JUNEAU, Alaska – An Arctic awareness deployment involving several Coast Guard commands is planned for Barrow from July 27 to Aug 11 in anticipation of the Coast Guard’s increasing role in the Arctic. “My first year in Alaska proved the Arctic is not an issue 10 to 20 years into the future,” said Rear Adm. Gene Brooks, Commander of the 17th Coast Guard District, “The Arctic is upon us now.”

Two HH-65 Dolphin helicopters, one from Air Station Kodiak and another from the West Coast, will be deployed, along with two small boats. Boat and air crews will test the operational capabilities of these assets in unfamiliar locations and conditions while support personnel test communications and logistics. The overall exercise will determine what Coast Guard requirements and capabilities lie in the Arctic.

“Today I cannot tell you how much the Coast Guard will be needed in the Arctic,” said Brooks. “I can tell you that the Coast Guard is only a small part of a larger national and international issue. We are trying to establish an appropriate model for Arctic operations, one that balances seasonal operations with native Alaskan culture and subsistence, that ensures prevention while providing appropriate response and without doing harm.”

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