Coast Guard Arctic domain awareness flight signals start of 2011 Arctic initiative

BARROW, Alaska - Air crew members from Coast Guard air station Kodiak make repairs to an HC-130 Hercules airplane after it broke down in Barrow Friday.  The air crew and passengers traveled to the North Pole successfully from Barrow on Thursday. (Official U.S. Coast Guard photo by Petty Officer 1st Class Kurt Fredrickson)

Coast Guard photo by Petty Officer Kurt Fredrickson

KODIAK, Alaska – Coast Guard District Seventeen will kick off the 2011 Arctic initiative with the first Arctic domain awareness flight of the year Tuesday, in advance of many other planned operations in the region.

This will be Coast Guard District Seventeen’s fifth Arctic season of expanded operations utilizing cutters, aircraft and personnel from across the state to support 2011 operations from May through August.

Planned 2011 operations include three exercises to practice elements of search and rescue, pollution response, towing operations and mass casualty response with local communities and state agencies. Additionally, Coast Guard personnel will continue community and boating safety outreach, commercial fishing vessel safety exams and port assessments. In 2010 Aids to Navigation Team Kodiak crews established a new aid at Point Hope. A similar aid is planned for construction at Point Barrow this season.

Rear Adm. Christopher Colvin, commander Coast Guard District Seventeen, has already made several trips north to support Coast Guard-sponsored Iditarod musher Ken Anderson in Willow and Nome and worked with Lt. Gov. Meade Treadwell and Navy officers Rear Adm. Nevin Carr, chief of Naval research and Rear Adm. David Titley, oceanographer and navigator of the Navy, at the Applied Physics Laboratory Ice Station 2011 about 100 miles north of Point Barrow.

Arctic domain awareness flights are conducted approximately every two weeks from March until November. They provide the Coast Guard a better understanding of the current Arctic environment by testing personnel and equipment capabilities, identifying challenges, surveying sea ice and monitoring vessel traffic. The Coast Guard gains visibility on seasonal mining operations and coastal erosion impacts while supporting the missions of homeland security, maritime domain awareness and scientific research.

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