SPAR Operation Arctic Shield 2013: Week 4

The crew of the Coast Guard Cutter SPAR conducts aids to navigation maintenance while underway.

The crew of the Coast Guard Cutter SPAR conducts aids to navigation maintenance while underway.

Story by Seaman George Benjamin

Week four of SPAR’s Arctic trip is winding down after a successful few weeks of servicing aids to navigation, law enforcement boardings, homeland secruity patrols, an international exercise with the Candaian coast guard, and a historic transit with the Coast Guard Cutter Naushon to Nome.

The crew began week four in Dutch Harbor, with a long worklist ahead of them, specifically known as Carl E. Moses. Not just a name, but a series of day boards, lights and frames, all drilled, wired and screwed onto towers. These towers were pre-staged and built by the crew of the SPAR to be erected in Captain’s Bay inside Dutch Harbor. Teams of crewmembers were mustered and assigned to each tower to assemble the aids and ensure they functioned properly. Alpha, bravo, charlie, and delta teams worked throughout the day to meet their mission.

In additon, to their Carl E. Moses work, SPAR’s crew serviced six buoys in the channel and reclaimed their place on Mount Ballyhoo.

If you’ve been to Dutch Harbor, you would notice that many visiting Coast Guard cutters have their names painted on a giant concrete structure on the face of Mount Ballyhoo. The large signs on Mount Ballyhoo commemorate the visits of the Coast Guard cutters to the busy port. Throughout the years, the large WWII era bunkers overlooking the Coast Guard pier have been made available to visiting Coast Guard cutters to paint their name on in recognition of their contributions to the communities of the Aleutian Islands and their presence in the Bering Sea.

SPAR has had her name there for many years. However, it appeared SPAR was the recipient of a good natured prank by the crew of the Coast Guard Cutter Polar Star, clearly excited about their first underway period in serval years, they added a P in front of SPAR and changed the P to an T, so the structure read P STAR.

A plan was devised to reclaim their place on the hill. Several crewmembers spent their hard earned liberty on the mission to reclaim the cutter’s place in Dutch Harbor, with great success.

Sailing back home after more than a month underway, the crew is excited to see their families and friends, and to sleep in their own beds.

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