The Long Blue Line: National Strike Force—the Guard’s global responder for 45 years!

The U.S. Coast Guard has been the steward of the nation’s maritime environment for nearly 200 years. As a vital component of the National Response System and homeland security mission, the National Strike Force minimizes the human and environmental impact of oil discharges, hazardous material releases, Weapons of Mass destruction (WMD) incidents, and other natural and man-made disasters. The National Strike Force remains Semper Paratus, “always ready,” to expand and adapt its mission to ever-changing natural and man-made threats to the nation and its environment. The National Strike Force remains “Ready Relevant and Responsive” for any hazard, any place.


Petty Officer 2nd Class Jonny Walker, a marine science technician aboard the Coast Guard Cutter Polar Star, uses a lathe to fabricate a brass bushing for the ship’s propulsion machinery, Jan. 16, 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: An aging ship

The Polar Star’s engineering department ensures the ship’s mechanical and electrical equipment is working properly, but the harsh conditions of Antarctica provide many challenges for the aging ship, which has been around longer than many of its crew members.


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.


ARCTIC OCEAN — Coast Guard Cutter Healy crew members demonstrate ice rescue and survival techniques at the North Pole Sept. 7, 2015.

At True North’s End

Continuing on their journey to study the geochemistry of the world’s ocean, the crew of Coast Guard Cutter Healy became the first U.S. surface vessel to reach the North Pole unaccompanied.


Polar Star

Headed south for the winter: Coast Guard Cutter begins journey to Antarctica

More than 150 Coast Guard men and women embarked on a journey that would take them to the bottom of the world Nov. 30, 2014; bound for a place only a small fraction of the world’s population will ever see. The Coast Guard Cutter Polar Star from Seattle is on an expedition to Antarctica in support of the United States Antarctic Program, which is managed by the National Science Foundation.


Petty Officer 3rd Class Blaine Nibley

Battling lead contamination, one fish bone at a time

Lead. Throughout America’s history, it’s been used in paint, batteries, gasoline and even water pipes. Today, lead contamination in one of the oldest Oakland, Calif., neighborhoods is being neutralized not by more chemicals or hauling away tons of dirt but by mixing ground fish bone into the soil.