JUNEAU, Alaska — The Coast Guard concluded Arctic Shield 2014 on Friday after a successful season that included deployments of personnel and assets to the Seward Peninsula, Bering Strait and the Northern Alaska Continental Shelf to conduct a broad range of Coast Guard statutory missions.
Arctic Shield 2014 included deployments by Coast Guard cutters Stratton, Healy, SPAR, Alex Haley and MH-60 Jayhawk helicopters deployed to a forward operating location in Barrow, tribal engagements and assistance, and a range of marine safety activities in many Arctic communities.
Arctic Shield efforts included a first-ever MH-60T Jayhawk helicopter deployment to the Stratton, a national security cutter, in the Arctic Ocean. The NSC can be deployed as a command and control platform that can conduct various missions to include maritime domain awareness, search and rescue, and law enforcement. The cutter is highly efficient, can be underway for longer periods of time, and is uniquely equipped to respond to threats and events in times of crisis.
The Arctic Shield team executed several challenging and high-visibility search and rescue cases, such as the dynamic rescue of the sailing vessel master aboard the Altan Girl beset in ice northeast of Barrow, and the medevac of a crewmember from the Korean polar research vessel Araon.
Operation Gold Nugget prevention and enforcement activities included 54 at-sea boardings and 36 safety inspections. The Coast Guard Research and Development Center tested pollution response capabilities and successfully celebrated the first landing of a UAV on a Coast Guard ice breaker. The Coast Guard National Ice Rescue School provided critical ice rescue training to the three largest Arctic communities. Prevention activities and outreach spanned 29 villages, training over 2800 children in Kids Don’t Float programs and three mass rescue exercises.
“As maritime activity continues to increase in the arctic, so does our responsibility and commitment to protect those on the sea, to protect the United States from threats delivered by the sea, and to protect the sea itself,” said Rear Adm. Dan Abel, commander, Coast Guard 17th District.
Arctic Shield engagements began in January 2014 and the objectives included:
- Seasonally perform select Coast Guard missions and activities in the Arctic.
- Advance Arctic maritime domain awareness through operations, intelligence and partnerships.
- Improve preparedness and response capabilities.
- Test capabilities and refine Arctic resource requirements.