My Coast Guard

Base Kodiak participates in joint operation bringing services to remote area in Alaska

By Lt. Lili Simon, DOL

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Coast Guard Base Kodiak participated in the joint military operation Arctic Care 2021 (AC21) May 1-18 to provide medical, dental, optometry, and veterinary care to remote areas. AC21 is an initiative from the Office of the Secretary of Defense, through the Innovative Readiness Team (IRT) whose primary mission is meeting community requests for support while accomplishing military readiness training. The Kodiak Area Native Association (KANA) requested this joint operation in order to provide no-cost medical, dental, optometry, and veterinary care to remote areas in Alaska, including Kodiak City, Port Lions, Old Harbor, Ouzinkie, Karluk, Akhiok, and Larsen Bay. The Coast Guard participated along with the Air Force, Army, Marine Corps, Navy, and the Public Health Services. 

“Arctic Care 2021 was a huge success. Vital medical, dental, and veterinary care was provided to over 2,100 locals in the city of Kodiak and six remote villages,” said said Capt. Edward Hernaez, Commanding Officer of Base Kodiak. “This Innovative Readiness Training operation was a great opportunity for DoD, DHS, and state partners to collaborate and focus on a meaningful mission to bring care and support to remote communities while accomplishing military training. It was an honor for the Coast Guard to host, participate, and support the Arctic Care operation.”

In addition to providing berthing, dining, and morale options for participants, members of the Base Clinic supported all facets of medical support. 

  • Clinic staff supported COVID-19 planning and contact tracing 
  • Base Kodiak’s dentist, Capt. Charles Truncale, deployed to provide dental care to the remote communities
  • Petty Officer 2nd Class Cookie Oakley, health services technician, assisted with providing veterinary services to these communities
  • Lt. Brandon Wilson, Base Kodiak’s physician assistant, along with clinic staff, provided veterinary training on the base, in addition to providing pharmaceutical support for veterinary services

In all, the teams saw 2,156 patients, performed 11,405 procedures, fabricated and distributed 631 pairs of eyeglasses, and completed more than 30,000 training hours at the medical sites.