Kodiak-based Coast Guard units deploy assets, personnel to Prince William Sound

An MH-60 Jayhawk helicopter from Coast Guard Air Station Kodiak

USCG file photo

KODIAK, Alaska – Aircrews from Coast Guard Air Station Kodiak shifted assets to Cordova Monday in response to the upcoming spring and summer fishing seasons in Prince William Sound and the Gulf of Alaska.

Coast Guard aviators moved one MH-60 Jayhawk helicopter from Kodiak to the forward operating base in Cordova to reduce the search and rescue response time to incidents in the Prince William Sound and Gulf of Alaska areas during a known period of increased maritime activity. Air station personnel typically maintain a crew ready for immediate response in Cordova from May through September. The Jayhawk helicopter crews from Kodiak consist of about 10 personnel and will rotate about every two weeks over the 22-week period.

They also assist other Coast Guard units in the region. This week, the Cordova-based helicopter crew will support Aids to Navigation Team (ANT) Kodiak and the Cordova-based 225-foot buoy tender, Coast Guard Cutter Sycamore in maintaining navigational aids in Prince William Sound by transporting personnel and equipment.

ANT Kodiak personnel will conduct routine maintenance on lighthouses at Cape St. Elias, Cape Hinchinbrook and Johnstone Point. The Sycamore crew will commission four seasonal aids along the Copper River and rebuild a permanent aid at Point Bentinck.

“Coast Guard Air Station Kodiak helicopter crews provide a vital forward deployed presence in Cordova during the summer months to mitigate risks posed from increased fishing and tourist traffic throughout the Prince William Sound area,” said Lt. Cmdr. Scott Jackson, assistant Air Station Kodiak MH-60 Jayhawk helicopter operations officer. “We are also able to assist other Coast Guard units by providing logistics support which further reduces risks to mariners.”

Kodiak-based HC-130 Hercules aircrews are scheduled to conduct round trip logistics flights from Kodiak to Cordova during the deployment. Additional Coast Guard aircraft remain in Kodiak to respond to search and rescue cases which may arise elsewhere in the state.

Forward deployed aircrews from Air Station Kodiak saved 14 lives and assisted four others during the 2010 Cordova deployment.

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