Operation Arctic Crossroads personnel arrive in Kotzebue, prepare for tommorow

JUNEAU, Alaska — More than 70 Coast Guard, Army National Guard, Air National Guard and U.S. Public Health Services personnel have deployed to Kotzebue beginning a 10 day initiative to provide medical, dental, optometry, boating safety awareness and other community services to eight boroughs throughout Northern Alaska, and to determine operational effectiveness and overall capabilities of Coast Guard assets.

The operation kicks off Tuesday with a team consisting of medical, veterinarian, optometry and water safety outreach personnel visiting the community of Pt. Hope. Operation Arctic Crossroads is a community outreach across Northern Alaska in an effort to integrate local knowledge with military expertise to meet the many challenges of Arctic operations.

Operation Arctic Crossroads will be conducting daily visits to remote northwestern Alaskan villages including Pt. Hope, Koyuk, Wales, Selawik, Shishmaref, Kivalina, Little Diomede and Shaktoolik. Much-needed medical, dental and veterinary care will be provided to the residents of this remote region.

The increasingly accessible and active Arctic region has significant environmental, scientific, economic and security impacts that have broad implications for all of the agencies participating and the public responsibilities they hold.

Coast Guard, U.S. Air Force, Army National Guard, Air National Guard and U.S. Public Health Services deployed during Operation Crossroads 2009 to Kivalina, Koyuk, Wales, Unalakleet, Shishmaref, Savoonga, Gambell, Little Diomede, Teller, Brevig, Barrow, Wainwright, Atqasuk, Pt. Lay, Kaktovik and Nuiqsut. Medical doctors examined 166 patients, an optometrist examined 149 patients, a dentist treated 14 patients and veterinarians treated 1,169 animals.

The Coast Guard also tested 4 types of small boats including a Special Purpose Craft-Shallow Water boat (SPC-SW), a 25-foot Response Boat-Small (RB-S), an 18-foot Sea Wolf Kite boat, and a 24-foot Munson boat. This year the Coast Guard is scheduled to test the 28-foot jet boat Metal Shark.

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