KODIAK, Alaska – The U.S. Coast Guard Cutter Cypress (WLB 210) crew arrived in Kodiak on Dec. 5, 2021, after transiting from the Coast Guard Yard in Baltimore, Maryland, upon completion of the ship’s Major Maintenance Availability (MMA).
The Cypress crew transited over 7,600 nautical miles south along the east coast of the United States through the Caribbean and Panama Canal, and North along the west coast of the United States through the Alaskan Inside Passage to her new homeport at Coast Guard Base Kodiak. The crew began preparing the Cypress for her maiden voyage to Alaska in August and will be returning to Kodiak after four months away from home.
The Cypress will be filling the role of the “Aleutian Keeper,” replacing the Coast Guard Cutter SPAR as the 225-foot Juniper Class Buoy Tender and will be responsible for servicing aids throughout Kodiak Island and the Aleutian chain. SPAR departed Kodiak in January 2021, entered MMA in February, 2021, and will be re-homeported in Duluth, Minnesota at the completion of the MMA.
Commissioned in 2001, the Cypress was stationed in Mobile, Alabama, and subsequently re-homeported to Pensacola, Florida, as the “Strong Arm of the Gulf,” servicing aids to navigation along 900 miles of coastline, stretching from Apalachicola, Florida, to the border of Mexico. The Cypress crew aided in hurricane recovery operations after Ivan, Katrina, and Rita, recovering and re-establishing buoys that hurricanes had moved up to 24 miles off station.
In 2004, the Cypress crew successfully recovered a sunken 38,000 lb. “Blue Angels” F/A-18A Hornet from 40 feet of water in the Gulf of Mexico after a training accident. The Cypress crew had served thereafter as the center point for the annual Blue Angels’ air show at Pensacola Beach until her arrival at the Coast Guard Yard for MMA in August of 2020. In 2010, the Cypress crew responded to the Deepwater Horizon oil spill impacting the Gulf of Mexico, conducting oil recovery operations with specialized oil recovery equipment alongside sister ships Juniper, Walnut, Sycamore, Aspen, Oak and Elm, together recovering over 500,000 gallons of spilled oil and coordinating environmental cleanup activities between numerous federal, state, local, and private entities.
During her 34 day transit, the Cypress crew made port calls in Mayport, Florida, Key West, Florida, Long Beach, California, and Ketchikan, Alaska. The Cypress crew took full advantage of the long transit time to conduct damage control training, small boat training, engineering and navigation drills, and worked to build watch proficiency leading to 63 individual qualifications.
The Cypress crew looks forward to returning home to their families, serving their local Alaska community, and returning to the important work of servicing aids to navigation that support the Maritime Transportation System vital to Alaska’s robust maritime economy.