Today, the Coast Guard’s newest fast response cutter, Coast Guard Cutter John F. McCormick, officially entered the fleet. While fast response cutters have been in the fleet since 2012, this marks a significant moment for the Coast Guard’s operations in Alaska and in the region, as McCormick is the first of its class to be stationed in the state and the first on the west coast.
The icebreaker-focused briefing served as an opportunity for the Vice Commandant to highlight two heavy icebreakers – the nation’s entire inventory of this strategic asset. Only one is operational, the Polar Star, and Coast Guard Cutter Polar Sea, the other heavy icebreaker, reached the end of its serviceable life in 2010 having suffered casualties to two main engines.
Today, Coast Guard Vice Commandant Adm. Charles Michel appeared before the House Coast Guard and Maritime Transportation Subcommittee to discuss Coast Guard capabilities in the Arctic. During the hearing, the Vice Commandant highlighted the various operations the Coast Guard performs in the polar regions, including the protection of living and non-living marine resources, economic development, scientific research, pollution response, search and rescue and national defense.
Behind the helm of a small boat, on the bridge of a cutter or at the controls of an aircraft is a skilled member of the United States Coast Guard. Whether patrolling the high seas or standing watch ashore, Coast Guard men and women are the heart of operations; their diverse talents and backgrounds enable mission success.