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.


Participants of a 10-day joint military bilateral exercise, Gema Bhakti 17 (GB17) take a group photo during the event in Jakarta, Indonesia, September 2017. U.S. Coast Guard photo.

Unity in Diversity: Coast Guard lends support to bilateral exercise in Indonesia

Bhinneka tunggal ika, the Indonesian national motto, means “unity in diversity.” This theme resonated with two reservists from Coast Guard Reserve Unit Pacific Command (USPACOM) who traveled to Jakarta, Indonesia, the world’s largest archipelago, in September 2017. Capt. Joanna Hiigel and Cmdr. John Mower traveled halfway around the world to support the 10-day joint military bilateral exercise, Gema Bhakti 17 (GB17). This was the fifth exercise of its kind held between the U.S. and Indonesia’s military, Tentara National Indonesia. It was designed to enhance collaboration and skill in planning a response to a regional crisis, with an emphasis on maritime security.


Honor, Respect, Devotion to Duty: Lt. Davey Connor

Helping others and saving lives is what being a member of the Coast Guard is all about. When Hurricane Maria devastated the island of Puerto Rico, Lt. Davey Connor deployed from Sector Jacksonville to assist in relief efforts. Between shifts, Connor made it his personal mission to help save as many homeless dogs left in the wake of the hurricane.


The Coast Guard Cutter Polar Star breaks ice in McMurdo Sound near Antarctica, Jan. 13, 2018. The crew of the Seattle-based Polar Star is 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.

U.S. icebreaker completes Antarctica operation despite engineering challenges

The crew of U.S. Coast Guard Cutter Polar Star completed their mission in support of National Science Foundation (NSF) after cutting a resupply channel through 15 miles of Antarctic ice in the Ross Sea and escorting supply vessels to the continent. Despite flooding in the engine room and one of the three turbines failing, the crew was able to continue and complete their mission in the ice to allow resupply ships to get to McMurdo Station.


Camp Lemonnier entrance sign. Photo courtesy of U.S. Navy.

Pacific Area deputy commander visits Reservists deployed to Africa

Rear Adm. Pat DeQuattro, Coast Guard Pacific Area deputy commander, visited reservists assigned to Camp Lemonnier in Djibouti, in the Horn of Africa. While there, DeQuattro recognized two reservists by presenting them the Navy Expeditionary Warfare Specialist pins.


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.


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.


Crew members of Coast Guard Cutter Stratton put bales of heroin and cocaine onto a crane to be removed from the cutter's flight deck, Sept. 20, 2017, in San Diego. The Coast Guard and its interagency partners seized over 455,000 pounds of cocaine worth more than $6 billion wholesale in Fiscal Year 2017, breaking the U.S. record for most cocaine seized in a single year. U.S. Coast Guard photo by Petty Officer DaVonte' Marrow.

Research, Development, Test and Evaluation Spotlight: Long-Range, Ultra-Long Endurance Unmanned Aircraft System

To augment interdiction efforts in the Caribbean, Gulf of Mexico and Eastern Pacific, the Coast Guard Research, Development, Test and Evaluation Program is investigating the feasibility, costs and benefits of using land-based long-range and ultra-long endurance unmanned aircraft systems to conduct intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance missions in contraband transit zones.


Assistant Secretary of Defense Logistics and Materiel Readiness, the Honorable Robert McMahon, Lt. Cmdr. Jason Plumley, Caribbean Basin Security Initiative - Technical Assistance Field Team Officer in Charge, Chief Warrant Officer 4 Alisha Johnson, CBSI-TAFT Logistics Branch Chief, Sgt. 1st Class Matthew Moore, CBSI-TAFT Watercraft Engineer, and Cmdr. Scott Rae, Joint Interagency Task Force - South Deputy Director of Operations. Courtesy photo.

Honor, Respect, Devotion to Duty: Caribbean Basin Security Initiative – Technical Assistance Field Team

The Caribbean Basin Security Initiative – Technical Assistance Field Team (CBSI-TAFT), a team comprised of nine U.S. Coast Guardsmen and six U.S. Army soldiers based at U.S. Southern Command earned the Secretary of Defense Maintenance Award Program. The award recognizes outstanding maintenance units in three categories: field-level, depot-level, and maintenance training, advice, and assistance of foreign security forces.


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