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ANCHORAGE, Alaska – The Coast Guard and the Alaska Air National Guard’s 249th Airlift Squadron delivered supplies and equipment to the Coast Guard’s seasonal forward operating location in Kotzebue, Alaska, Monday in preparation for the anticipated increase of maritime activities this summer in Western Alaska and the Bering Sea.
A C-17 Globemaster III aircrew loaded government vehicles, a generator and pallets of supplies at Coast Guard Air Station Kodiak along with three Air Station Kodiak crew members en route to Kotzebue. The C-17 and Air Station Kodiak crew members offloaded all equipment Monday afternoon at the Alaska Army National Guard Hangar in Kotzebue.
As part of Coast Guard Arctic Shield 2017, FOL Kotzebue will consist of two Coast Guard Air Station Kodiak MH-60 Jayhawk helicopters with supporting air and ground crews based out of the Alaska Army National Guard Hangar in Kotzebue.
“The Coast Guard is committed to having a sustained presence in the Arctic,” said Capt. Stephen White, incident commander for 17th Coast Guard District Arctic operations. “As the nation’s lead federal agency for ensuring maritime safety and security in the Arctic, the Coast Guard will protect the nation’s interests, safeguard the environment and strengthen our international, federal, state, local and tribal partnerships.”
The Coast Guard partnered with the Alaska Army National Guard under a Memorandum of Agreement signed in 2013 and will use their Kotzebue facility this year. The deployment of two helicopters and personnel in Kotzebue allows the Coast Guard an opportunity to leverage existing infrastructure and strategically positions its crews to effectively respond to maritime emergencies in the Bering Strait.
For more information about the Coast Guard’s Arctic Strategy, click here.
For more information about the Coast Guard’s Arctic Shield 2017 operations, click here.
2017 marks the 150th anniversary of the Coast Guard’s presence in Alaska. On August 12, 1867 the Revenue Cutter Lincoln transported the first federal officials to Sitka for the formal transfer of proprietorship from Russia on October 18, 1867. Since then, the Coast Guard’s duty to protect the people and waters of Alaska and the Arctic has grown alongside the 49th state’s ever-increasing role in American commerce, Arctic exploration and national sovereignty.