Coast Guard Cutter Healy visits the Arctic

Coast Guard Cutter Healy visits the Arctic


My name is Captain Jason Hamilton I’m the commanding officer of the Coast Guard Cutter Healy. We are currently deployed in the Arctic conducting two unique missions. Coast Guard Cutter Healy is the United States’ premier high-latitude research vessel. First and foremost, we are an icebreaker, and as an icebreaker, we can break up to 4.5 feet of ice continuously at three knots. That’s our design, and we can break an awful lot more than that depending on what environmentals we have because when you’re up in the Arctic, you can have ridges that are several feet deep, several feet high. We can break well over 10 feet of ice and we’re going to need to do that this summer when we are on our own, unaccompanied on our way to the North Pole. The other things we have are our small boats, we have three that we carry at any one time including the Arctic survey boat which gives us the ability to conduct science away from the ship and we also have a hangar and the ability to carry two helicopters. This first mission set we’re conducting with the Research and Development center and that’s an honor and a privilege for a couple reasons. First, my classmate happens to actually be the commanding officer of the Research and Development center so getting to work with Dennis after knowing him for 26 years it’s great. Aside from that, working with his people they are professionals they know what they’re doing they’re bringing new operational capability to bear and being able to assist them, being the backbone for that research it’s a great feeling, makes you want to wake up each and every day. Yesterday, we launched the PUMA, which is a unmanned, aerial surveillance vehicle and it was the first time that we’ve been able to successfully launch and recover it in the Arctic. Secondly, we’ll be working with a small boat to see if we’re able to come ashore and beach which is particularly important because when you look throughout the Arctic there are no deepwater ports and they have very rocky coastlines and we’ve been challenged over the years to ensure that we’re able to do that type of mission set along the coastline. We will also be launching an Aerostat, which should give us additional eyes and ears above the waterline and we have some wave gliders that we’re going to put in that are solar-powered that can give us eyes and ears within the water column. The SAREX will be an opportunity for us to demonstrate our operational capabilities in the Arctic We will be working with industry, as well as inter-agency partners to ensure that we are able to respond when someone is lost at sea. In this case, we’re going to have a dummy that will be on a small boat, and we will have unmanned aerial vehicles that will pinpoint where that particular individual is and we’ll have different communication strategies to try and hone in on it quickly so that we can do our best to be focused in on the recovery as opposed to the search mode in a SAREX. The thing that’s unique about Healy is, we talk about interagency and cooperation and we get to demonstrate that on a daily basis. We’re an optimally manned vessel which means we only have 85 people onboard and we are the largest ship in the Coast Guard. We have a crew that leans forward and does their job to the best of their ability. Every day, I am impressed with different members of the crew and what they do and what they provide for the ship. Whether it’s the cooks and the great meals they put out the people in the engineering department who ensure we are able to operate throughout the globe, or the operators up on the bridge who, the ice piloting and the challenges and the expertise that they bring to bear as we break ice. It’s phenomenal to work with these people.

2 thoughts on “Coast Guard Cutter Healy visits the Arctic

  • September 10, 2015 at 4:13 pm
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    What tipe of worker's do you bring for those mission's or the similar stuff like that?

    Reply
  • June 4, 2017 at 7:40 am
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    Question; I tried to get an appointment to talk to my recruiter but all she wanted to do was send me emails of enlistment papers and I'm only 16. What do I do?

    Reply

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