Warwick, R.I., native takes part in inaugural Arctic patrol


Petty Officer 1st Class Joshua Olczak, an information specialist aboard the Coast Guard Cutter Bertholf, takes photographs, writes information reports, and briefs the command on the ship, Sept. 15, 2012, in the Arctic Ocean. The Bertholf is deployed as part of Operation Arctic Shield and is assessing its capabilities operating in the region. U.S. Coast Guard photo by Petty Officer 1st Class Timothy Tamargo.


Petty Officer 1st Class Joshua Olczak, an intelligence 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.

As an information specialist, Olczak’s job aboard the Bertholf includes being the ships photographer, writing information reports, and briefing the command. He is also a systems administrator.

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.

“The Arctic was interesting because we were able to interact with the local communities around Barrow, Alaska,” said Olczak. “I thought it was really cool to see big pieces of sea ice and pods of Orcas along with many other types of whales, especially since this is my first time patrolling in the Arctic. I think it will be awesome to get a chance to view the Northern Lights because this may be my only time this far north.”

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.

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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