The Coast Guard Cutter Polar Star sits moored at McMurdo Station, Antarctica, Jan. 19, 2018. The crew of the Seattle-based Polar Star was on deployment to Antarctica in support of Operation Deep Freeze 2018, the U.S. military’s contribution to the National Science Foundation-managed U.S. Antarctic Program. U.S. Coast Guard photo by Chief Petty Officer Nick Ameen.

Operation Deep Freeze: Arrival to McMurdo

The Coast Guard Cutter Polar Star’s commanding officer gives insight on what made the Operation Deep Freeze 2018 mission a success. Through dedication and devotion to duty, the crew once again accomplished their mission breaking ice and creating a navigable channel through the Antarctic to National Science Foundation’s McMurdo Station.


Coast Guard Air Station Kodiak MH-60 helicopter crew and Marine Safety Detachment Kodiak pollution responders conduct an overflight in response to an oil spill in Shuyak Strait, 49 miles north of Kodiak, Alaska, Feb. 27, 2018. The Coast Guard and Alaska Department of Environmental Conservation established a unified command in response to the oil spill as part of the service’s marine environmental protection mission. U.S. Coast Guard photo.

Research, Development, Test and Evaluation Spotlight: Detection, Mitigation of Oil within the Water Column

As part of the Coast Guard’s marine environmental protection mission, the Research and Development Center recently completed a project to identify and prototype technologies capable of detecting and mitigating the impacts of oil in the water column that show promise for future commercialization and implementation.


U.S. Coast Guard divers prepare to go below the surface to inspect Coast Guard Cutter Polar Star for any damages done in the harsh Antarctic conditions. U.S. Coast Guard photo by Chief Petty Officer Nick Ameen.

Operation Deep Freeze: Beneath the surface

Deploying to the most remote continent on Earth requires a ship to be self-sufficient. If an underwater issue arises, it’s necessary to have skilled divers who can inspect the problem and make a report to the command. It’s for this reason the Coast Guard Cutter Polar Star embarks a Coast Guard Dive Team for its annual deployment to Antarctica.


Petty Officer 1st Class Eric Hëyob, a boatswain’s mate and ice pilot, navigates Coast Guard Cutter Polar Star through ice during Operation Deep Freeze 2018, Jan. 31, 2018. U.S. Coast Guard photo by Chief Petty Officer Nick Ameen.

Operation Deep Freeze: Ice pilots

The Coast Guard Cutter Polar Star is only one of two cutters in the service with qualified ice pilots aboard. Ice pilots are responsible for navigating the ship through different types of ice. On their way to Antarctica, ice pilots will first negotiate pack ice—large pieces of floating ice—before reaching the fast ice, which extends out from the shore and is attached to it.


Honor, Respect, Devotion to Duty: Coast Guard Cutter John McCormick

Less than a year has passed since the crew of the Coast Guard Cutter John McCormick took to the sea and traveled 6,200 miles from Key West, Florida, to its homeport of Ketchikan, Alaska. Despite the long trip and drastic change of climate, the crew’s performance remained intact. This resilience was recognized by the Douglas Munro Chapter of the Surface Navy Association that awarded the crew of the cutter John McCormick with the 2017 Hopley Yeaton Cutter Excellence Award (small cutter).


The Coast Guard Cutter Polar Star breaks ice in McMurdo Sound near Antarctica, Jan. 10, 2018. The crew of the Seattle-based Polar Star is on its way to Antarctica in support of Operation Deep Freeze 2018, the U.S. military’s contribution to the National Science Foundation-managed U.S. Antarctic Program. U.S. Coast Guard photo by Chief Petty Officer Nick Ameen.

Operation Deep Freeze: A military operation

The capabilities of the United States military can assist scientific researchers discover more about our planet. One peacetime mission assisting in that realm is Operation Deep Freeze. Operation Deep Freeze is one of the military’s most challenging peacetime missions, as the environment in which the mission is conducted is harsh. Negotiating the frozen seas of the Antarctic region requires specialized equipment and skills, which is where the Coast Guard Cutter Polar Star comes in.


Honor, Respect, Devotion to Duty: Maritime Safety and Security Team Miami

The summer and fall of 2017 saw a nearly unprecedented string of hurricanes impacting the southeastern United States. As always, of course, Coast Guard units responded to every storm, providing rescue, recovery, and security assistance in areas that had been ravaged by extreme weather. For Maritime Safety and Security Team (MSST) Miami in particular, it was a uniquely trying time in which personnel truly distinguished themselves through their perseverance and dedication: five weeks, three storm responses, an evacuation of their own homes, and a unit that came together through a difficult period to accomplish diverse missions and take care of their fellow Coast Guard members.


The crew of the Coast Guard Cutter Polar Star reached the edge of the ice surrounding Antarctica approximately 15-miles north of the U.S. National Science Foundation's McMurdo station, January 8, 2018. The crew will attempt break through the 15-mile stretch of sea ice in McMurdo Sound, sometimes as much as 10 feet in thickness, to resupply the NSF research facilities there during Operation Deep Freeze. ODF is the U.S. military's contribution to the NSF-managed, civilian U.S. Antarctic Program, and one of the most difficult U.S. military peacetime missions due to the harsh environment in which it is conducted. Coast Guard photo courtesy of Ensign Christopher Popiel.

Introduction to Operation Deep Freeze 2018

The Seattle-based Coast Guard Cutter Polar Star, the United States’ only heavy icebreaker has commenced its annual Operation Deep Freeze in contribution to the National Science Foundation (NSF)-managed U.S. Antarctic Program. The Polar Star’s job is to forcibly clear a path through frozen waters for supply ships headed to Antarctica’s logistics hub, McMurdo Station.


Salvaging boats, protecting the environment: The aftermath of Hurricane Maria

Hurricane Maria made landfall in Puerto Rico on Sept. 20, 2017. Two months after the storm has passed, the devastation lingers; families are displaced, homes have been torn-apart, and destroyed boats sit sunken in harbors or have washed ashore. The Coast Guard, Puerto Rico Department of Natural and Environmental Resources, Environmental Protection Agency and National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) continue working on organizing salvage and removal operations for displaced, sunken and wrecked vessels throughout the island.


Painting showing the 1892 transfer of Siberian reindeer by Revenue Cutter Bear under the command of Capt. Michael Healy. U.S. Coast Guard image.

The Long Blue Line: Coast Guard ice operations

For 150 years, the Coast Guard and its ancestor agencies have played a vital role in Alaska and the Arctic. The service’s ice operations provide the U.S. with the capability to support national interests in ice-bound waters, including the movement of maritime transportation, search and rescue, law enforcement, environmental protection and the pursuit of marine science. The service continues to make an impact in Alaska and Arctic waters and the Coast Guard’s ice operations mission remains as important as ever.


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