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KODIAK, Alaska — The crew of Coast Guard Cutter Alex Haley (WMEC 39) returned to their homeport in Kodiak Sunday, following a 40-day deployment throughout the Bering Sea and Aleutian Islands.
Since departing Kodiak in September, the crew 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, Alex Haley’s onboard helicopter crew medically evacuated a crewmember from fishing vessel Alaska Victory after he was exposed to a release of toxic ammonia refrigerant Sept. 28.
Midway through the patrol, Alex Haley visited the remote community of St. Paul, Alaska, where crewmembers conducted a clean-up of a local lakefront and met with community elders. These events helped strengthen one of the many outstanding partnerships between the U. S. Coast Guard and local Alaskan communities.
“This patrol is my first aboard Alex Haley and my first in the Bering Sea,” said Cmdr. Benjamin Golightly, Alex Haley’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.”
“The opportunity to patrol the Bering Sea during the highly visible Red King Crab season was tremendously rewarding anduniquely challenging,” continued Golightly. “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, Alex Haley’s crewmembers exemplified professionalism and operational excellence in all they did. The product of their efforts can clearly be seen in the success we had this patrol.”
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 over several thousands of miles.