Coast Guard cutter returns to Kodiak after 40-day patrol

Ship carried out search-and-rescue operations during 5,000-mile patrol

A crew member aboard a 26-foot boat prepares to come alongside Coast Guard Cutter Alex Haley while underway in the Bering Sea. (Oct. 20, 2019) Photo courtesy of U.S. Coast Guard District 17
A crew member aboard a 26-foot boat prepares to come alongside Coast Guard Cutter Alex Haley while underway in the Bering Sea. (Oct. 20, 2019) Photo courtesy of U.S. Coast Guard District 17

The crew of U.S. Coast Guard Cutter Alex Haley returned to their homeport in Kodiak on Sunday, Oct. 20, following a 40-day deployment throughout the Bering Sea and Aleutian Islands.

Since departing Kodiak in September, the crew has patrolled 5,000 miles and conducted 13 at-sea boardings.

The crew also conducted law enforcement operations during the opening of the 2019 Red King Crab season and participated in several search and rescue cases. Most notably, the Alex Haley’s onboard helicopter crew medically evacuated a crew member from the F/V Alaska Victory after he was exposed to a release of toxic ammonia refrigerant Sept. 28.

Midway through the patrol, the Alex Haley visited the remote community of St. Paul, where crew members conducted a cleanup of a local lakefront and met with community elders. These events helped strengthen partnerships between the Coast Guard and local communities.

“This patrol is my first aboard Alex Haley and my first in the Bering Sea,” said Cmdr. Benjamin Golightly, the ship’s commanding officer. “After a long period in homeport, which included major dockside repairs, the crew did an outstanding job transitioning back into the demanding routine of operations at sea.

“Between the rapid operational pace of fisheries boardings, the notorious unpredictability of the weather and the fact that search-and-rescue cases can occur at any time, there was no shortage of challenges to be met by the crew. However, through their perseverance, high spirits, and unwavering dedication to service, the Alex Haley’s crew members exemplified professionalism and operational excellence in all they did.”

The Alex Haley is a 282-foot Medium Endurance Cutter that has been homeported in Kodiak since 1999, routinely operating throughout the Bering Sea, Gulf of Alaska and Pacific Ocean. The cutter’s ability to operate in extreme weather conditions provides the mission flexibility necessary to perform search-and-rescue, fisheries law enforcement and vessel safety inspections across Alaska. These operations occur under the tactical control of the 17th Coast Guard District in Juneau, which encompasses the entire state of Alaska, as well as the coastal and offshore waters seaward across several thousands of miles.