Coast Guard Polar, Arctic & Other Ice Operations

Including the operations in the Bering Sea,
Greenland & International Ice Patrols &
domestic icebreaking


A photo of the Northwind on the Northwest Passage escort of SS Manhattan


 

General Information:

United States Coast Guard Arctic Strategy. Washington, DC: USCG, May, 2013.

Coast Guard Expeditions, Polar & Ice Operations and the International Ice Patrol: Historical Bibliography  

Coast Guard Ice Operations: Description & Summary

Historical Chronology of Polar & Ice Operations

"The U.S. Coast Guard in the Arctic and the Sub Arctic," a history by RADM Edward H. "Iceberg" Smith, USCG, 1949 (pdf).

A History of Coast Guard Ice Operations: A Power Point Presentation


 

Alaska & The Bering Sea Patrol:

Alaska & Arctic Operations: A Historic Photograph Gallery

The Coast Guard in Alaska & Hawaii: A Short History

A History of the Bering Sea Patrol

Report of the Cruise of the Revenue Marine Steamer CORWIN in the Arctic Ocean in the Year 1884, by Captain M. A. Healy, U.S.R.M.  Provided courtesy of Google Books (pdf)

Report of the Cruise of the Revenue Marine Steamer CORWIN in the Arctic Ocean in the Year 1885, by Captain M. A. Healy, U.S.R.M.  Provided courtesy of Google Books (pdf)

Search and rescue case regarding the grounding of the Sailing Vessel Paramita near Unimak Pass in 1914.  Cutters Unalga and Tahoma responded to the wreck of the Paramita and mutiny by the sailing vessel's passengers and crew.  Provided courtesy of Dr. R. Montague Whiting.

The Cruise of the Corwin, a book by John Muir, published in 1917.  Provided courtesy of Google Books (pdf).

The Overland Expedition-Rescue to Point Barrow, Alaska, 1897-1898 (a narrative history)

"Track Chart of Cruise of U.S. Rev. Steamer 'Bear' and Overland Expedition to the Relief of Whalers in Arctic Ocean.  November 29, 1897 to September 13, 1898."  [pdf] [jpg]

The Official Report of The Cruise of the U.S. Revenue Cutter Bear and the Overland Expedition for the Relief of the Whalers in the Arctic Ocean, From November 27, 1897, to September 13, 1898. Provided courtesy of Google Books (pdf).

A Photo Gallery for Commodore Ellsworth Bertholf & the Overland Expedition.

Below Zero: Songs and Verses from the Bering Sea and the Arctic.  A songbook from the Revenue Cutter Service's Bering Sea Patrol, circa 1903 (pdf).

1903 Senate Report on the Introduction of Domestic Reindeer into Alaska, by Sheldon Jackson, LL.D. provided courtesy of Google Books (pdf).

Report of the Operations of the U.S. Revenue Steamer Nunivak on the Yukon River Station, Alaska, 1899-1901 by First Lieutenant J. C. Cantwell, R.C.S., Commanding.  Provided courtesy of Google Books (pdf).

An oral history of Vice Admiral Joseph E. Stika, about his time in the Revenue Cutter Service and duty on the Bering Sea Patrol!

U. S. Coast Guard, Public Information Division. The Coast Guard at War: Alaska. Vol. III. Washington, DC: US Coast Guard, 1946 (The official history of Coast Guard operations in Alaska during World War II).

Coast Guard Lighthouses & Other Aids to Navigation in Alaskan History (pdf file)

The oral history of LCDR Andrea Sacchetti, who served as the Air Operations Officer during the 2008 "Concept of Operations" deployment to Barrow, Alaska.


 

The Arctic:

"Report of the Preliminary Results of the Aeroarctic Expedition with [the dirigible] 'Graf Zeppelin,' 1931."  A technical article published in the Geographical Review written by Coast Guard officer Edward H. Smith & Lincoln Ellsworth.  The article describes their aerial expedition over the Arctic aboard the German dirigible Graf Zeppelin.  Published here as a pdf with the permission of the American Geographical Society.

"LCDR Edward 'Iceberg' Smith, '13, and the 1931 Arctic Expedition of the German Airship Graf Zeppelin," an article by William H. Thiesen as published in the April 2010 issue of the Coast Guard Academy Alumni Association's publication The Bulletin, pp. 58-62.

U. S. Coast Guard, Public Information Division. The Coast Guard at War: Greenland Patrol. Vol. II. Washington, DC: US Coast Guard, 1945 (The official history of Coast Guard operations in Greenland before and during World War II)

The 1957 Northwest Passage: A History (A history of the Coast Guard Cutters Storis, Bramble and Spar and their cruise through the Northwest Passage in 1957).

"Cutters Around the Continent"; the official documentary film about the historic 1957 Northwest Passage by the cutters Storis, Bramble & Spar.

1957 Northwest Passage: "Notes from Calumet", excerpts from the journal and letters of Captain Harold L. Wood, USCG during the transit of the Northwest Passage by U.S. Coast Guard Cutters Storis, Bramble, & Spar, 1957.  Compiled & edited by Captain Wood's daughter, Lucinda Wood Langjahr.

"Fog, Wind and Ice: Navigating the Northwest Passage": an article on the 1957 Northwest Passage expedition by PACM Pete Capelotti and published in the February, 2009 issue of the Naval Institute Proceedings (link will take you to the USNI Proceedings website)

USCGC Healy's Arctic West - East Summer 2005 Cruise Report

"Carpe DIEM: Seizing Strategic Opportunity in the Arctic"; an article by Anthony L. Russell published in Issue 51, 4th Quarter 2008 issue of JFQ: Joint Forces Quarterly, National Defense University.


 

Antarctica & Operation Deep Freeze:

1979: "Operation DEEP FREEZE 1979, Cruise Report"; USCGC Glacier (WAGB-4); report dated 6 April 1979.

1982: "Operation DEEP FREEZE 1982, Cruise Report"; USCGC Glacier (WAGB-4), 1982.

1983: Captain Joseph Smith, commanding officer of the USCGC Polar Star, Describes the 1983 Operation Deep Freeze Cruise

1986: CGC Polar Star's Operation Deep Freeze 1986 Report


 

Icebreakers:

The icebreaker CGC Healy

Icebreakers and the Coast Guard: A History

Coast Guard Icebreakers: A Historic Photo Gallery

"The Search for the United States Revenue Cutter Bear": The official report of a search team made up of Academy cadets and faculty about their 1979 expedition to find the wreck of the historic cutter Bear.

"Revised Memorandum of Agreement Between The Department Of The Navy And The Department Of The Treasury On The Operation Of Icebreakers, " (1965)

USCGC Healy: The United States' New Polar Research Icebreaking Vessel

U.S. Coast Guard Report: "U.S. Coast Guard Cutter POLAR SEA (WAGB 11) Historical Context Report" by Dr. Dan Koski-Korell, CG-47 (July, 2011).

Congressional Research Service Report: "Coast Guard Polar Icebreaker Modernization: Background, Issues, and Options for Congress."  February 26, 2008, Report by Ronald O'Rourke, Report # RL34391.  Updated Report, November 3, 2011.

Department of Homeland Security IG Report: "The Coast Guard's Polar Icebreaker Maintenance, Upgrade, and Acquisition Program"; DHS OIG Report # 11-31, January, 2011.

"Coast Guard Polar Icebreakers: Past, Present and Future", an article by CDR Thomas Wojahn, Ice Operations Program Manager as published in the Summer of 2007 Coast Guard Proceedings Magazine.

"Structural Considerations in the Design of the POLAR Class of Coast Guard Icebreakers."  An article by Bruce Barber, Luis Baez and Gary North as presented to the Ship Structure Symposium of The Society of Naval Architects and Marine Engineers, 6-8 October 1975.

"Eyes of the Icebreakers," a 1958 article by LTJG Gilbert Shaw that describes the CGC Mackinaw and its use of a helicopter during ice-breaking missions on the Great Lakes.


 

Greenland:

The Coast Guard and the Greenland Patrol: an article describing the Coast Guard's role in Greenland during World War II.

The Coast Guard At War: Greenland Patrol: Volume 2 of the Coast Guard's Official World War II History Series, 1945.

The First U.S. Naval Capture of World War II: USCGC Northland vs. S.S. Buskoe

"The Greenland Ice Cap Rescue of B-17 'PN9E' November 5, 1942 to May 8, 1943":  An article authored by retired Coast Guard Captain Don Taub that describes the attempts to rescue the crew of a downed B-17 Flying Fortress on Greenland during World War II.  One of those attempts led to the loss of two Coast Guard aviators, LT John Pritchard and RM1 Benjamin Bottoms, and their passenger, one of the B-17's crewmen.

Death of a Wooden Shoe: A Sailor's Diary of Life and Death on the Greenland Patrol, 1942, by Thaddeus D. Novak.  The detailed and comprehensive diary kept by Coast Guardsmen Thaddeus Novak covering his service with the Greenland Patrol during World War II.

Captain David W. Sinclair's memoir. CAPT Sinclair served on the Greenland Patrol during World War II.  

"Combat in the Arctic:" The Capture of the German Naval Auxiliary vessel Externsteine by USCGC Eastwind and USCGC Southwind in 1944.


 

International Ice Patrol:

A History of the International Ice Patrol

Commanding Officers of the International Ice Patrol

The official website of the International Ice Patrol


 

Government Hearings, Reports, Policy & Other Official Documents & Publications:

1884:

Report of the Cruise of the Revenue Marine Steamer CORWIN in the Arctic Ocean in the Year 1884, by Captain M. A. Healy, U.S.R.M.  Provided courtesy of Google Books (pdf)

1885:

Report of the Cruise of the Revenue Marine Steamer CORWIN in the Arctic Ocean in the Year 1885, by Captain M. A. Healy, U.S.R.M.  Provided courtesy of Google Books (pdf)

1899:

Report of the Operations of the U.S. Revenue Steamer Nunivak on the Yukon River Station, Alaska, 1899-1901 by First Lieutenant J. C. Cantwell, R.C.S., Commanding (Washington, D.C.: Government Printing Office, 1902).  Provided courtesy of Google Books.

1903:

1903 Senate Report on the Introduction of Domestic Reindeer into Alaska, by Sheldon Jackson, LL.D. provided courtesy of Google Books (pdf).

1931:

"Report of the Preliminary Results of the Aeroarctic Expedition with [the dirigible] 'Graf Zeppelin,' 1931."  A technical article published in the Geographical Review written by Coast Guard officer Edward H. Smith & Lincoln Ellsworth.  The article describes their aerial expedition over the Arctic aboard the German dirigible Graf Zeppelin.  Published here as a pdf with the permission of the American Geographical Society.

 

1965:

"Revised Memorandum of Agreement Between The Department Of The Navy And The Department Of The Treasury On The Operation Of Icebreakers, " (1965)

 

2008:

"Statement of Admiral Thad W. Allen Commandant on Coast Guard Icebreaking."; Hearing before the the Subcommittee on Coast Guard and Maritime Transportation Committee on Transportation and Infrastructure, U.S. House of Representatives, July 16, 2008.

"Report to Congress: U.S. Coast Guard Polar Operations." U.S. Coast Guard report "directed by the Committees on Appropriations of the 110th Congress," 2008.

The Emerging Arctic: A New Maritime Frontier.  A PowerPoint presentation created by the 17th Coast Guard District, 2008.

"Coast Guard Polar Icebreaker Modernization: Background, Issues, and Options for Congress."  Congressional Research Service Report by Ronald O'Rourke, February 26, 2008, Report # RL34391.  Updated Report, November 3, 2011.

2010:

"COAST GUARD: Efforts to Identify Arctic Requirements are Ongoing, but More Communication about Agency Planning Efforts Would Be Beneficial (GAO Report 10-870; September 2010).

2011:

"Testimony of Admiral Robert Papp, Commandant, U.S. Coast Guard on 'Arctic Operations' Before the Senate Committee on Commerce, Science and Transportation, July 27, 2011."

"U.S. Coast Guard Cutter POLAR SEA (WAGB 11) Historical Context Report." U.S. Coast Guard Report by Dr. Dan Koski-Korell, CG-47 (July, 2011).

"Defending U.S. Economic Interests in the Changing Arctic: Is There a Strategy?"; Oral Statement by Admiral Robert J. Papp, Jr., Commandant, U.S. Coast Guard.  Hearing held by Senate Committee on Commerce, Science & Transportation Subcommittee on Oceans, Atmosphere, Fisheries and Coast Guard held on July 27, 2011.

"Coast Guard Polar Icebreaker Modernization: Background, Issues, and Options for Congress."  Congressional Research Service Report by Ronald O'Rourke, February 26, 2008, Report # RL34391.  Updated Report, November 3, 2011.

2013:

United States Coast Guard Arctic Strategy. Washington, DC: USCG, May, 2013.


 

Miscellaneous:

"Chicago's Christmas Ship": the CGC Mackinaw's historic role as the city's "Christmas Ship", an article by Debbie Allyn Jett.


A photo of a memorial service for the Titanic aboard a Coast Guard cutter

A memorial service for the RMS Titanic, held on board a Coast Guard cutter,
sometime during the 1920s.


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Last Modified 7/24/2014