Operation Arctic Crossroads 2010 concludes in Kotzebue

KOTZEBUE, Alaska — The multi-agency phase of Operation Arctic Crossroads in Kotzebue concluded Wednesday following nine days of testing Coast Guard assets, area familiarization and community outreach.

Operation Arctic Crossroads will continue for four days during the month of September with veterinary and boating safety personnel who are scheduled to visit Savoonga and Gambell, Alaska.

Helicopter crews from the Coast Guard, Air National Guard and Army National Guard transported personnel in support of Operation Arctic Crossroads 2010 to eight villages in Northwest Alaska. Medical and boating safety teams were transported to Noatak, Point Hope, Shishmaref, Kivalina, Koyuk, Wales, Shaktoolik and Selawik.

Medical and water safety personnel visited Noatak instead of Little Diomede after the Air National Guard helicopter supporting Arctic Crossroads received a call to respond to rescue five people at Knik Glacier Tuesday.

The three helicopter crews flew the medical and boating safety teams more than 6,300 miles to the remote villages in Northwest Alaska.

During the visits to the villages medical doctors examined 154 patients, an optometrist examined 98 patients, two veterinarians treated 313 animals and a team of Dentist examined 74 patients.

Two Coast Guard Auxiliary members distributed 1,095 whistles and signal mirrors, 48 youth sized Personal Flotation Devices, 20 adult PFD’s, 495 coloring books and gave boating safety classes to each village.

The Coast Guard tested four types of small boats including a 28-foot utility boat-medium, a 25-foot Response Boat-Small, an 18-foot Sea Wolf Kite boat and an 18-foot cutter boat-medium.

“Identifying operational capabilities for Coast Guard response boats in the arctic waterways is vital to understand the service’s current limits in the remote region,” said Cmdr. Michelle Webber, operational commander of Operation Arctic Crossroads. “At the same time, we are learning about the culture of the region while bringing much needed medical care to remote villages and encouraging them to use better boating safety practices.”

A Coast Guard MH-60 Jayhawk Helicopter crew from Air Station Kodiak, an HH-60 Pavehawk helicopter crew from Kulis Air National Guard Base and a UH-60 Blackhawk crew from Nome helped transport personnel to the remote villages in support of Operation Arctic Crossroads 2010.

Operations from Arctic Crossroads 2010 will be evaluated by Coast Guard Commandant Adm. Robert Papp Jr. who will present the recommendations to Congress in Washington D.C.

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