El Paso, Texas, native is a shipboard rescue swimmer serving in the Arctic

Seaman Bailey Tooke, a deckhand on the Coast Guard Cutter Bertholf, prepares for surface swimmer training, Sept. 15, 2012, on the ship in the Arctic Ocean as part of the Coast Guard’s Operation Arctic Shield mission. Tooke is a member of the deck division aboard Bertholf and is a surface rescue swimmer aboard the cutter, deploying from a smallboat or the ship to rescue people directly from the water. U.S. Coast Guard photo by Petty Officer 2nd Class James Claude

Written by Petty Officer 1st Class Timothy Tamargo

Seaman Bailey Tooke, a deckhand on the Coast Guard Cutter Bertholf, deployed Aug. 21 with the ship to the Arctic Ocean as part of the Coast Guard’s Operation Arctic Shield mission.

Tooke is a member of the deck division aboard Bertholf and is a line handler in every mooring evolution and almost all small boat launching and recovery operations. On the bridge, she stands watch as the boatswain’s mate of the watch, making sure the decks are secure as well performing lookout and helmsman duties. She is a cutter surface rescue swimmer, deploying from a smallboat or the ship to rescue people who need to be brought aboard due to injury or falling into the water. In addition, she works on the never ending project for her division, fighting rust and metal degradation by grinding, sanding and painting almost all of their surfaces.

Operation Arctic Shield 2012 will give the Coast Guard and the cutter an opportunity to test capabilities to ensure the right resources are available to conduct maritime operations in the region.

“I like the Arctic, I feel honored to be here.” said Tooke. “I feel I have accomplished something really amazing and so early in my life. That makes it that much better.”

In U.S. waters, the Coast Guard has a responsibility to conduct its 11 statutory missions.  During Operation Arctic Shield it will focus on: ports, waterways and coastal security; search and rescue; aids to navigation; living marine resources; marine safety; defense readiness; marine environmental protection; ice operations and law enforcement.

The Coast Guard is the nation’s lead federal agency for ensuring maritime safety, security and stewardship and will be a leader in the advancement of U.S. national interests in the Arctic maritime domain.

It is dedicated to ensuring the protection of the Arctic maritime environment and of all those who depend upon it.

The Coast Guard has a long and proud history of working in Alaska dating back to the Revenue Cutter Service as late as the 1860s.  Alaska Native partners are a vital part of Operation Arctic Shield and the Coast Guard values their knowledge and expertise to reach common goals.

For more imagery from Arctic Shield 2012, please visit www.cgvi.uscg.mil.
For more information about Arctic Shield, please visit: http://www.uscg.mil/d17/Arctic%20Shield%202012.asp 

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