USCG aircrews from across the US travel to Alaska to assist with Arctic Shield 2015

A Coast Guard aircrew, forward deployed to Deadhorse, Alaska, performs maintenance on an MH-60 Jayhawk helicopter at the Deadhorse Aviation Center. The aircrew was deployed to the Deadhorse forward operating location in support of Arctic Shield 2015. U.S. Coast Guard photo by Petty Officer 1st Class Shawn Eggert

A Coast Guard aircrew, forward deployed to Deadhorse, Alaska, performs maintenance on an MH-60 Jayhawk helicopter at the Deadhorse Aviation Center. The aircrew was deployed to the Deadhorse forward operating location in support of Arctic Shield 2015. U.S. Coast Guard photo by Petty Officer 1st Class Shawn Eggert

Spanning more than 4-million square miles along the Alaskan coastline, Coast Guard Air Station Kodiak serves as a guardian to Alaskan mariners. With missions ranging from search and rescue to law enforcement, air station crews keep a busy schedule throughout the year. But, as ice in the Arctic recedes, another mission becomes important for the Coast Guard.

As part of Operation Arctic Shield, Air Station Kodiak deployed helicopters and personnel to a forward operating location in Deadhorse. In order to support both their primary missions and Arctic mission, the air station requested additional personnel from Coast Guard units across the United States.

Coast Guard aviators from North Carolina, Alabama and California assisted Air Station Kodiak in establishing the FOL.

“When a deployment opens they need more people and more maintenance,” said Petty Officer 2nd Class Jay Palacio, an avionics electrical technician deployed from Air Station San Diego. “I volunteered because it’s a great opportunity to support the Coast Guard and see the direct impact I can have on a mission.”

Coast Guard Petty Officer 2nd Class Jay Palacio, an avionics electrical technician, performs checks on an MH-60 Jayhawk helicopter before a flight in Deadhorse, Alaska, June 25, 2015. Palacio was deployed to Deadhorse from Air Station San Diego to assist in establishing a forward operating location. U.S. Coast Guard photo by Petty Officer 3rd Class Meredith Manning

Coast Guard Petty Officer 2nd Class Jay Palacio, an avionics electrical technician, performs checks on an MH-60 Jayhawk helicopter before a flight in Deadhorse, Alaska, June 25, 2015. Palacio was deployed to Deadhorse from Air Station San Diego to assist in establishing a forward operating location. U.S. Coast Guard photo by Petty Officer 3rd Class Meredith Manning

Palacio and other deployed members spent approximately a week at Air Station Kodiak before deploying to Dead Horse. While in Deadhorse, the aviators worked weeklong rotations assisting the personnel from Air Station Kodiak in maintaining the aircraft, supplementing crews and representing the Coast Guard in the Arctic.

The crews were responsible for the two Jayhawks and the operations of the FOL, including communications, mission preparedness and area familiarity. They played a large part in establishing the FOL, which will help the Coast Guard to carry out strategic plans in the Arctic.

“Having members from other air stations in Deadhorse is a huge help,” said Senior Chief Michael Bersin, the site supervisor of the Dead Horse FOL. “The support of these crewmembers ensures our ability to provide the same amount of service throughout Alaska.”

Due to their training, the aviators that volunteered for this operation were able to travel to a new area and perform the duties of the FOL. Ultimately this dedication and ability embodies the Coast Guard’s motto, “Semper Paratus; Always Ready.”

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