U.S. Coast Guard Capt. Michael Davanzo poses for a photo aboard Coast Guard Cutter Polar Star during a deployment to Antarctica, Jan. 22, 2018. Davanzo is the commanding officer of Polar Star who is held responsible for leading the expedition and ensuring mission success. U.S. Coast Guard photo by Chief Petty Officer Nick Ameen.

Operation Deep Freeze: Coast Guard ice captains

The Coast Guard Polar Star’s leader, Capt. Michael Davanzo, ensures his crew’s proficiency at navigating through the ice of Antarctica. Having that knowledge bequeathed from crew to crew allows the mission to continue for years to come. As the Antarctic landscape once again freezes over, Coast Guard ice captains will be there to lead the expedition and ensure mission success.


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.


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.


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.


Below Zero: A red hat for a cold mission

What started as a source of pride aboard the former Coast Guard Cutter Glacier in the mid 1970s, donning a red uniform ball cap, is now part of a right of passage for those who serve aboard icebreakers throughout the Coast Guard.


Below Zero: The art of icebreaking

The process of icebreaking involves more than using the biggest hammer and busting your way through. Even the biggest hammer can be broken if mistakes are made.To some, the Coast Guard Cutter Polar Star may seem like a very big hammer to throw at the ice but there’s actually an art to icebreaking.


Below Zero Kick Off – Coast Guard’s Cold Weather Operations

January and February are the most common coldest months throughout the nation. It’s a time when many Coast Guard units participate in domestic icebreaking and ice rescues. During this month-long campaign, we want to stress cold weather safety for those who may be near water or ice with the help of our National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration and International Ice Patrol partners as well as various Coast Guard units.


2016 Video of the Year: Coast Guard Cutter Polar Star Operation Deep Freeze

The ninth nominee is a time-lapse video showing Coast Guard Cutter Polar Star transiting through sea ice shortly after crossing the Antarctic Circle, and then breaking ice in Antarctica in support of Operation Deep Freeze 2016. Is this the top video for the year? Cast your vote!


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