A gift from The Great Land

Crew members from the Coast Guard Cutter Mustang install windows around the Capitol Christmas tree in Seward, Alaska, Oct. 28, 2015. The 74-foot tree from the Chugach National Forrest will be the first Capitol Christmas tree to come from Alaska. (U.S. Coast Guard photo by Petty Officer 3rd Class Meredith Manning)

Crew members from the Coast Guard Cutter Mustang install windows around the Capitol Christmas tree in Seward, Alaska, Oct. 28, 2015. The 74-foot tree from the Chugach National Forrest will be the first Capitol Christmas tree to come from Alaska. (U.S. Coast Guard photo by Petty Officer 3rd Class Meredith Manning)

Just days before Halloween, Coast Guard members embraced a different holiday spirit as they joined the town of Seward, Alaska, in preparing the Capitol Christmas Tree for its journey to D.C.

Lt. Matthew Brinkley, the commanding officer of the Coast Guard Cutter Mustang, installs a wall support beam on a trailer in Seward, Alaska, Oct. 28, 2015. The Mustang crew volunteered to build the wall on the trailer that will transport the Capitol Christmas Tree from Seward to D.C. (U.S. Coast Guard photo by Petty Officer 3rd Class Meredith Manning)

Lt. Matthew Brinkley, the commanding officer of the Coast Guard Cutter Mustang, installs a wall support beam on a trailer in Seward, Alaska, Oct. 28, 2015. The Mustang crew volunteered to build the wall on the trailer that will transport the Capitol Christmas Tree from Seward to D.C. (U.S. Coast Guard photo by Petty Officer 3rd Class Meredith Manning)

Crewmembers from the Coast Guard Cutter Mustang attended the town’s celebration where the tree was recognized and displayed before beginning its journey to the Capitol. After the celebration, the crew tirelessly installed the protective walls and windows on the 80-foot truck that will house the tree during its 4,000-mile transit.

“It was great to be a part of something that has such a national impact,” said Lt. Matthew Brinkley, the commanding officer of the Mustang. “We were honored to help send a piece of Alaska to the Capitol.”

The 74-foot Lutz spruce, a hybrid between a white spruce and a Sitka spruce, was cut from the Chugach National Forest. Each year the Capitol Christmas Tree is chosen from a different National Forest and this tree is the first to come from Alaska.

Crew members from the Coast Guard Cutter Mustang install a wall around the Capitol Christmas tree in Seward, Alaska, Oct. 28, 2015. The wall will protect the 74-foot tree during its 4,000-mile transit to the U.S. Capitol. (U.S. Coast Guard photo by Petty Officer 3rd Class Meredith Manning)

Crew members from the Coast Guard Cutter Mustang install a wall around the Capitol Christmas tree in Seward, Alaska, Oct. 28, 2015. The wall will protect the 74-foot tree during its 4,000-mile transit to the U.S. Capitol. (U.S. Coast Guard photo by Petty Officer 3rd Class Meredith Manning)

“Volunteers like the Coast Guard were instrumental to the success of this project,” said Torey Powell, the partnership and community outreach coordinator for the Chugach National Forest Service. “A project of this scale would not be possible without volunteers who donate time and energy to a great cause.”

When the tree arrives in D.C. it will be decorated with ornaments made by students and community members across Alaska that celebrate what it means to give a gift from the Great Land.

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