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August 15, 2011

Dear Friends and Family,

ENS Johnston and ENS Steckle fold the American Flag during a burial at sea ceremony onboard HEALY.
ENS Johnston and ENS Steckle fold the American Flag during a burial at sea ceremony.

Prior to departing the Arctic we conducted a burial at sea as per the request of a deceased Icebreaker sailor to be buried north of the Arctic Circle. Captain Havlik officiated the service, and the ceremonial detail was comprised of HEALY officers and enlisted crew. Captain Havlik began the ceremony with the sailor’s eulogy describing his life accomplishments and military contributions, followed by the playing of Taps. During the playing of Taps, the sailor’s remains were covered by an American Flag and lowered into the Arctic Waters. The American Flag was then folded and set aside for the sailor’s family.

Taps originated with the French Army and up until the Civil war, was the bugle call used by the U.S. Army for “Lights Out” at the end of the day. During the Civil War, Medal of Honor awardee and Civil War Brigade General Butterfield initiated its revision and revised the bugle call with the aid of the Brigade Bugler, Oliver Norton. This revision is now known as modern day Taps. The call was first used at a funeral by Union Captain John Tidball to honor a fallen soldier and substituted the traditional rifle fire to avoid alerting the enemy . For more information and a full history of Taps see the Department of Veteran Affairs article, “The Story of Taps.”

During community service DC1 Orozco (right) and DC2 Mandrie (left) cut wood to replace the rotten supports for the porch and roof of a local Seward residentís home.
DC1 Orozco (right) and DC2 Mandrie (left) replace rotten roof and porch supports of a Seward resident’s home.

During our mid-patrol break in Seward, Alaska, members of the crew participated in various volunteer projects throughout the community. For example, several crew members completed extensive repairs on the exterior of a local resident’s home. The work they completed included power washing the home, clearing out dirt and gravel, and replacing rotted wood from flooding damage, supporting the home’s roof, porch and foundation. The community was very grateful for the crew’s hard work and contributions.

CAPT Havlik discusses the Arctic and HEALYís capabilities with the Department of Homeland Security Senior Executive Alice Hill and Coast Guard Commandant Admiral Papp. (Also Pictured is Marine Science Officer LT Chris Skapin)
CAPT Havlik discusses the Arctic and HEALY’s capabilities with the Department of Homeland Security Senior Executive Alice Hill and Coast Guard Commandant Admiral Papp. (Also Pictured is Marine Science Officer LT Chris Skapin)

Upon departing Seward, Admiral Robert J. Papp, Commandant, U.S. Coast Guard, accompanied by Rear Admiral Thomas P. Ostebo, Commander District Seventeen, and Alice Hill, Senior Counselor to the Secretary of Homeland Security, visited USCGC HEALY while conducting operations south of Kodiak, Alaska. Captain Havlik escorted the VIP guests through the cutter’s primary spaces, essential to the ship’s distinct Arctic research operations. The Official Party navigated through the Bridge, Engineering Control Center, Science Conference Library, and through five of the science laboratories. Collectively, there is 4200 feet of laboratory space onboard HEALY, used to collect and process critical scientific data. The visit familiarized the Senior Counselor to the capabilities and unique mission of this distinguished U.S. Arctic Research Vessel.

MK2 Schumacher poses behind his Halibut during fish call.
MK2 Schumacher poses behind his Halibut during fish call.

After the Commandant’s visit, the crew enjoyed a fish call off the coast of Kodiak. Those who participated caught their limit of Halibut!

This past Monday, we welcomed aboard twenty-five new scientists, two videographers from National Geographic, and a journalism team from the University of New Hampshire (UNH) Alumni Magazine. The media crew stayed aboard throughout the afternoon and conducted an interview with Dr. Larry Mayer, a Professor from UNH. Dr. Larry Mayer is the Chief Scientist during USCGC HEALY’s Extended Continental Shelf Mapping mission with the Canadian Icebreaker Louis S. St. Laurent. The interviews focused on the type of research and data that will be produced from the bathymetric survey of the Arctic Seafloor. The University of New Hampshire will feature the story in their Alumni Magazine to represent the University’s contributions to scientific research and furthering institutional accreditation. In conjunction, National Geographic will also feature the story, scheduled to air in spring 2013.

Chief Scientist Dr. Larry Mayer shows National Geographic videographers a detailed chart of the planned survey route for USCGC HEALY and CCGS Louis S. St Laurent.
Chief Scientist Dr. Larry Mayer shows National Geographic videographers a detailed chart of the planned survey route for USCGC HEALY and CCGS Louis S. St Laurent.

On Tuesday we began our first survey line and conducted the first deep Conductivity- Temperature- Depth (CTD) cast of the mission. Crew and scientist were given Styrofoam cups for decoration. Once decorated, the cups were lowered with the CTD to the Arctic Seafloor at a depth of 3000 meters. The increase in pressure as the cups are lowered to this vast depth caused the full size cups to shrink to a quarter of their original size, creating unique souvenirs. Many crew members designed cups for their friends and family.

Over the next two weeks we will survey approximately 900 miles of Arctic Seafloor along predetermined survey lines and areas of interest to the scientists. We expect to rendezvous with the Canadian Icebreaker, Louis S. St Laurent early next week to begin joint mapping operations.

Until Next Time,
Sincerely,
ENS Holly McNair
Public Affairs Officer

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