Greetings from the Arctic,
The last two weeks of the NASA Icescape Mission II were demanding but rewarding for the scientists and crew. A testament to the diligence of the scientist and crew, we were able to complete thirty seven science stations stretched over 500 nautical miles, including but not limited to 3 on ice stations, 8 Profiling Reflectance Radiometer (PRR) casts, 44 Conductivity Temperature Depth (CTD) casts, 7 Thorium Pump casts, 3 Van Veen Grabs, and 11 Inherent Optical Properties (IOP) casts.
As summer set into the Arctic, open leads and calm winds allowed us to launch the Arctic Survey Boat (ASB), a small boat designed to perform in the challenging icy conditions and provide an alternate platform for less disturbed data retrieval. Once in the water, a small team of seasoned scientists accompanied by well trained boat crewmen and coxswain navigate away from the ship to collect data in waters undisturbed by the ship influence, taking samples with instruments such as a telescopic mast and smaller versions of the Conductivity Temperature Depth (CTD) rosette, and Inherent Optical Properties assembly. This improves the appropriate sunlight for sensitive solar measurements, and enhances collection of the purest water samples, unaffected by the ship’s drift or overboard discharge. Overall, we were able to complete 9 on ice deployments, 12 ASB launches, and over 170 total science stations. Bravo Zulu!
At the 101st station, after successful collection of ice cores and other data the crew and science party were granted on ice liberty to enjoy the rare opportunity to stand on thick Arctic multi-year ice first hand!
We congratulated several crewmembers on awards and accomplishments. Congratulations to ENS Holly McNair, ENS Evan Steckle, ENS Robert Johnston, and BMC Whitman on completing their Underway Officer of the Deck qualification. We also recognized ENS Sarah Hohnstadt, ENS Avery Weston, ENS Holly McNair, ENS Evan Steckle, and ENS Robert Johnston for earning their one year cumulative sea service award. Well done FS3 Arndt for earning his first good conduct award and SK1 Boudreau for earning his second. Congratulations to CWO4 Gale and MK1 Wada on achieving their underway Technician of the Watch Qualification. We also gave a Bravo Zulu to DC2 Doyon, FS2 Bondurant and FNSK Booth and FN Bushong for earning their qualification as Inport Security Watch Stander. Last but not least, congratulations to the whole crew for earning the US Coast Guards Arctic Sea Service Ribbon after commendable service above the Arctic Circle for more than twenty one days. Bravo Zulu on all of your professional achievements.
En-route to Seward, AK we prepare for some needed rest and recovery after a successful first mission. Although, the scientists are not the only shipmates we will say farewell to. Several crewmembers will be departing the unit and moving on to new aspects of their Coast Guard careers. In addition to the NASA ICESCAPE science party, we will say goodbye to our current Executive Officer, CDR Reeves headed to NESU Seattle, LTJG Sinks going to Washington, D.C., best wishes to SN Helfrich on her way to Operations Specialist “A” School and FN Watkins headed to Aviation Survival Technician “A” School. Farewell to MST2 Dicks as he departs for a new assignment in Louisiana, and best wishes to 1/c cadet Shuntich and 1/c cadet Balke as they complete their summer training onboard and depart for leave before starting their senior year at the USCG Academy. It was a pleasure having you all as shipmates and sailing with you. The crew wishes you fair winds, following seas and open leads.
The crew will be thinking of our friends and family as we enjoy a mid-summer port call in Seward, AK.
Until Next Time,
ENS Holly McNair
Public Affairs Officer