Coast Guard ensures cutters, research vessels are ready for operations

Base Kodiak cargo pier operations

Crews depart the Coast Guard Cutter Sycamore following mooring operations at Base Kodiak Tuesday, Oct. 30, 2012, in Kodiak, Alaska.

Coast Guard cutters spend hundreds of days each year at sea conducting the Coast Guard’s 11 statutory missions. It’s critical that they make the most of port calls and time between deployments to resupply and conduct maintenance and training that can’t be done at sea.

Coast Guard personnel at Base Kodiak Port Services ensure cutters, ships and research vessels from multiple branches and agencies receive the services they need year-round.

The three-man team at the unit manages logistics for the Coast Guard cutter fleet stationed in Western Alaska as well as visiting cutters and vessels from other agencies. In 2011 the team oversaw more than 70 port calls in Kodiak, Seward, Nome, Adak and Dutch Harbor. They are responsible for assisting the cutters with tying up and getting underway, delivering supplies, arranging for services and repairs and managing the Cutterman’s Club which provides the crews with training spaces, laundry facilities, and a lounge.

Base Kodiak cargo pier operations

Petty Officer 2nd Class Clinton Mooers and Petty Officer 3rd Class Tom Sohacki, of Base Kodiak Port Services, install a potable water fitting in 40 mph winds at the Coast Guard cargo pier in Kodiak, Alaska, in advance of the Coast Guard Cutter Sycamore tying up Tuesday, Oct. 30, 2012.

Their daily tasks range from arranging fuel and food deliveries worth thousands of dollars for the ships to scheduling cranes and heavy equipment to deliver a replacement parts.

“Whether it is tracking parts and supplies the Bertholf needs while they are off Barrow or line handling for the Sycamore in 40 mph winds in Kodiak, the guys here do an incredible job,” said Chief Petty Officer Derrik Magnuson, a boatswain’s mate and Base Kodiak Port Service’s supervisor.

The crew works around the cutter’s schedules to ensure Coast Guard operations are not hindered by logistics. This can be a challenge in Alaska, where distance,, limited infrastructure and harsh weather create complex issues when dealing with logistics.

Base Kodiak cargo pier operations

Members of the Coast Guard Cutter Sycamore crane a 12,000 pound hazardous materials container from the deck of the ship to a flat-bed trailer Tuesday, Oct. 30, 2012, in Kodiak, Alaska, following a fall buoy run in Western and Southcentral Alaska.

In addition to the many Coast Guard vessels that sail the waters of Alaska, the crew also provides logistical support for the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration research vessels Oscar Dyson, Rainier, Fairweather, Marcus Langseth and Miller Freeman; the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, the Russian Federal Security Service vessel Vorovsky and the Military Sealift Command ship USNS Sumner.

“Without them it would be incredibly difficult to order parts at sea,” said Ensign Paul Milliken, communications officer, Coast Guard Cutter SPAR. “The Port Services crew makes our port calls more effective because of the limited time we have in port, they can order parts, assist with line handling, connect our potable water, get our communications arranged organize government vehicles and most important they ensure that we’re safe when we’re away from port by having everything we need. Without their help, we wouldn’t be able to complete our missions.”

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