Bremerton, Wash., native crosses Arctic Circle with CGC Bertholf

Petty Officer 2nd Class Samantha Hayes, an operations specialist aboard the Coast Guard Cutter Bertholf, stands a radio and radar watch on the ship, Sept. 14, 2012, in the Arctic Ocean. The Bertholf is deployed as part of the Coast Guard’s Operation Arctic Shield. U.S. Coast Guard photo by Petty Officer 1st Class Timothy Tamargo.

Petty Officer 2nd Class Samantha Hayes, an operations specialist 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.

Hayes’ job is to track surface contacts with radar and maintain communications with small boats. Her duties include Air Direction Controller where she maintains a communications guard with aircraft as well as track them via radar. She also has the ability during low visibility conditions to safely vector a helicopter to the cutter flight deck or to a safe landing area.

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

“I’m thrilled for the opportunity to protect our resources while helping to maintain the tribal traditions,” said Hayes. “It’s refreshing to be in an area where we have a long, positive history with the local fishermen and we do our best to maintain that good relationship.”

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 1860’s. Alaska Native partners are a vital part of Operation Arctic Shield and the Coast Guard values their knowledge and expertise to reach common goals.

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