Coast Guard opens seasonal forward operating location in Kotzebue, Alaska

A Coast Guard Air Station Kodiak MH-60 Jayhawk aircrew, deployed to forward operating location Kotzebue, Alaska, conducts a pre-flight brief before flying a mission to Point Lay, July 13, 2017. FOL Kotzebue houses two Air Station Kodiak MH-60 Jayhawk helicopters and crews in support of Operation Arctic Shield. U.S. Coast Guard photo by Lt. Brian Dykens.

A Coast Guard Air Station Kodiak MH-60 Jayhawk aircrew, deployed to forward operating location Kotzebue, Alaska, conducts a pre-flight brief before flying a mission to Point La. U.S. Coast Guard photo by Lt. Brian Dykens.

JUNEAU, Alaska — Coast Guard Air Station Kodiak crews opened a seasonal forward operating location Thursday in Kotzebue.

Air Station Kodiak aircrews transferred aviation airframes and equipment to Kotzebue to reduce response time to the Bering Strait and Northern Slope regions in anticipation of historically increased maritime activity in that region during summer operations.

“Establishing forward operating locations helps us mitigate many of the major challenges we face when operating in the Arctic, including the environment, vast distances, and limited infrastructure,” said Cmdr. Molly Hayes, Operation Arctic Shield operational planner. “Pre-staging flight crews from Air Station Kodiak saves critical time and resources when conducting missions in the Arctic region.”

In support of Arctic Shield 2021 operations, aircrews operate out of the forward operating location, where they provide coverage to the entire northwestern portion of Alaska. Operation Arctic Shield is the Coast Guard’s rapid and proactive mobilization of resources focused on performing the service’s 11 statutory missions throughout the Arctic to ensure maritime safety, security, and stewardship. It is an annual operation that began in 2009.


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