SAVOONGA, Alaska — During their current Arctic patrol, crew members from Coast Guard Cutter Stratton (WMSL 752) met with key leaders in Savoogna, Sept. 22.
The meeting took place in the Savoonga town hall with Benjamin Pungowiyi, the village council president, Elvin Noongwook, Mayor of Savoonga, and Bryan Rookok Jr., President of Savoonga’s Native Corporation. Discussion centered on climate change impacts, Coast Guard presence and enforcement, and commercial fishing restrictions surrounding the island. The community leaders’ foremost concern was the protection of marine mammals the village depends on for subsistence.
The tribal chief and mayor gave Stratton members a tour of the coastline and community while sharing history of the island and village.
“It was my distinct honor to participate in these conversations in Savoogna,” said Lt. Cmdr. Ryan Fox, operations officer aboard Stratton. “I look forward to furthering our cooperation as the Coast Guard’s presence in the Arctic grows.”
The Stratton team delivered blankets, etched glasses and coins provided by the Alameda Chapter of the Navy League.
“As maritime activity in the Arctic increases, so will the Coast Guard’s presence,” said Capt. Stephen Adler, commanding officer of Cutter Stratton. “It is vital we establish and maintain positive relationships with communities directly impacted. We’re truly grateful for the opportunity to meet with tribal leaders to discuss their concerns and gain a better understanding of how we may support them going forward.”
Stratton is a 418-foot national security cutter (NSC) capable of extended, worldwide deployment in support of homeland security and defense missions. NSCs routinely conduct operations from South America to the Arctic, where their unmatched combination of range, speed, and ability to operate in extreme weather provides the flexibility necessary to conduct vital strategic missions.