Coast Guard participates in Operation Arctic Care 2018

Coast Guard Petty Officer 3rd Class Destiny Rousey, a health services technician at Rockmore-King Clinic Base Kodiak, takes x-rays of a patient’s teeth prior to a cleaning during Arctic Care 2018, April 17, 2018, at the Kivalina Clinic, Kivalina, Alaska. Military personnel participating in Arctic Care 2018 accomplished critical mission training to maintain currency needed to support future contingency and humanitarian operations during the Innovative Readiness Training Exercise. U.S. Air Force photo by Maj. Joe Simms.

Coast Guard Petty Officer 3rd Class Destiny Rousey, a health services technician at Rockmore-King Clinic Base Kodiak, takes x-rays of a patient’s teeth prior to a cleaning during Arctic Care 2018, April 17, 2018, at the Kivalina Clinic, Kivalina, Alaska. Military personnel participating in Arctic Care 2018 accomplished critical mission training to maintain currency needed to support future contingency and humanitarian operations during the Innovative Readiness Training Exercise. U.S. Air Force photo by Maj. Joe Simms.

Story by: Petty Officer 1st Class Charly Hengen and Petty Officer 3rd Class Lauren Dean.

Coast Guardsmen stationed across Alaska answered the call to work alongside Department of Defense personnel to provide medical care to remote Alaskans living above the Arctic Circle, April 13-27. 

Operation Arctic Care 2018 took six active duty Coast Guardsmen and more than 140 reserve DOD personnel to the far reaches of Alaska. This joint military exercise was an Innovative Readiness Training Exercise based out of Kotzebue, Alaska.

During their 10-day stint, Coast Guard and DoD personnel provided medical, dental, optometry and veterinary care for underserved communities in the Maniillaq Service Area, which included Kivalina, Kiana, Noatak, Buckland, and Noorvik.

“They were very grateful that we were there,” said Petty Officer 3rd Class Destiny Rousey, a health services technician with the Rockmore-King Clinic at Base Kodiak. “They didn’t want us to leave.”

This was the first year Coast Guard personnel from four Alaska-based medical clinics participated in Operation Arctic Care in remote villages. Health services technicians from not only Kodiak, but Juneau, Ketchikan and Sitka were able to attend.

Petty Officer 2nd Class Nathan Goodrich, a health

Coast Guard Petty Officer 2nd Class Nathan Goodrich, a health services technician at Rockmore-King Clinic in Kodiak, Alaska, holds a local family’s pet as part of Innovative Readiness Training Arctic Care 2018, Buckland, Alaska, April 19, 2018. IRT Arctic Care provides service members the opportunity to increase public awareness and understanding of Reserve component forces while increasing overall training and readiness. U.S. Marine Corps photo by Lance Cpl. Ricardo Davila.

Coast Guard Petty Officer 2nd Class Nathan Goodrich, a health services technician at Rockmore-King Clinic in Kodiak, Alaska, holds a local family’s pet as part of Innovative Readiness Training Arctic Care 2018, Buckland, Alaska, April 19, 2018. IRT Arctic Care provides service members the opportunity to increase public awareness and understanding of Reserve component forces while increasing overall training and readiness. U.S. Marine Corps photo by Lance Cpl. Ricardo Davila.

services technician at Rockmore-King Clinic, noted that Operation Arctic Care provided a unique opportunity for Coast Guardsmen to obtain field experience in their area of expertise outside their normal working conditions. Goodrich was able to cross-train and assist with the veterinary clinics, while Rousey assisted in the dental clinics temporarily established in each village.

Rousey noted that, as a health services technician, she normally only provides care to Coast Guardsmen. However, Operation Arctic Care allows an opportunity for an HS to provide care outside the Coast Guard clinic and to see how remote villagers live. Goodrich added it was a difficult, but rewarding trip.

“We were short medications, but we made do with what we had and were able to provide a lot of valuable services to the communities we served,” said Goodrich. “I got invaluable experience working with other branches of the military and ramping up my skill set.”

Given the opportunity to go back, both Rousey and Goodrich agreed they would volunteer again to support Operation Arctic Care.

 

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