“Coast Guard, North Slope Borough Search and Rescue to conduct exercise near Utqiagvik, Alaska” –D17

Utqiagvik, the city formally know as Barrow, AK (File photo courtesy of Wikipedia)

This may look like a routine announcement, but I found it interesting because of where it is, and the fact that it will include “Coast Guard helicopters, and Coast Guard cutters” –both plural. Utqiagvik, Alaska, formerly Barrow, is the Northern most city in Alaska, 71°17′26″N, 284 nautical miles above the Arctic Circle. The helicopters will probably come with the cutters (maybe not?), but what cutters? USCGC Healy, an icebreaker, seems likely, but there has got to be at least one more. Maybe Alex Haley, out of Kodiak, or a Bertholf class NSC on Alaska Patrol?

Hopefully we will hear more.

News Release

U.S. Coast Guard 17th District Alaska

Coast Guard, North Slope Borough Search and Rescue to conduct exercise near Utqiagvik, Alaska

JUNEAU, Alaska – The 17th Coast Guard District and North Slope Borough Search and Rescue are scheduled to conduct an exercise near Utqiagvik, Alaska, August 31, 2022 through September 3, 2022.

The exercise is a small-scale search and rescue mission offshore of Utqiagvik named Operation Itqanaiyaq, meaning Get Ready or Get Prepared in Iñupiaq. The purpose of the exercise is for the Coast Guard and North Slope Borough Search and Rescue to practice procedures for maritime distress response.

The public will notice an increase in emergency responder and military presence in the vicinity of Utquiagvik during the exercise dates. The increased presence will consist of Coast Guard helicopters, and Coast Guard cutters.

“This search and rescue exercise provides a great opportunity for the Coast Guard to train alongside the North Slope Borough in an Arctic environment,” said Lt. Lindsay Wheeler from the 17th Coast Guard District. “We never know when we will need to respond with our aerial or surface assets to help find and rescue missing or injured people.”

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