Coast Guard opens forward operations in Kotzebue

A Coast Guard Air Station Kodiak MH-60 Jayhawk helicopter inside a hangar at Cold Bay in early October, so that Kodiak-based air crews can respond quickly during the winter fishing season. Photo courtesy Petty Officer 1st Class Charly Hengen/Coast Guard District 17.

Coast Guard Air Station Kodiak has opened forward operating location Kotzebue, in support of Arctic Shield 2018 operations throughout the Arctic region.

The air station has deployed two MH-60 Jayhawk helicopters and crews to Kotzebue to give the Coast Guard an opportunity to leverage existing infrastructure and strategically position its crews to respond effectively to maritime emergencies in the Bering Strait and the North Slope.

The Coast Guard will also have cutters Healy, Stratton and Douglas Munro engage in operations encompassing a variety of Coast Guard missions from Dutch Harbor through the Bering Strait and along the North Slope, including the Northern Alaska Outer Continental Shelf.

Operation Arctic Guardian will also include outreach with community responders in the Arctic by teaching basic oil spill response tactics and sub-area planning. Several Coast Guard personnel and the Alaska Department of Environmental Conservation will conduct Operation Arctic Guardian in Bethel.

Arctic Shield operations began in 2009 to support Coast Guard missions in response to increased maritime activity in the Arctic.

Arctic Shield 2018 is focused on understanding and responding to risks to the sea, risks to those on the sea, and risks from those who might use the sea to do harm.