My Coast Guard
Commentary | Feb. 10, 2022

Frontline Focus: Coast Guard icebreaker medevacs woman from icebound Mackinac Island, Michigan, and more.  

By Janki Patel, MyCG Writer

Coast Guard icebreaker medevacs woman from icebound Mackinac Island, Mich. The Coast Guard responded to an urgent request for medical assistance in an unusually improvisational way, Feb. 7. While helicopters are generally used for such missions, difficult weather conditions at Coast Guard Air Station in Traverse City, Mich., made that impossible. Fortunately, the Coast Guard Cutter Katmai Bay, a 140-foot icebreaker, was underway clearing a path on the St. Mary’s River and the crew immediately altered plans and set a course for Mackinac Island. The woman was successfully transported to a local hospital where she is receiving next-level care. “Today’s efforts by our crews demonstrate the flexibility and ingenuity of our search and rescue planners in finding solutions to complex cases, regardless of the weather,” said Capt. Anthony Jones, Sector Sault Ste. Marie commander. The sector encompasses all of Lake Superior and the northern portion of lakes Huron and Michigan. “My hat is also off to the crew of the Katmai Bay, who shifted from icebreaking to search and rescue in a matter of moments to help this woman get the critical care she needed,” Jones said. Read more.  

Nation's sole heavy icebreaker arrives in Antarctica. The 157 crewmembers of the Coast Guard Cutter Polar Star arrived at McMurdo Station in Antarctica, Feb. 7. They left from the cutter’s homeport, Seattle, Nov. 13, 2021, and did an 86-day transit. This deployment marks the Polar Star’s 25th journey to Antarctica supporting Operation Deep Freeze, an annual joint military service mission to resupply the United States Antarctic stations in support of the National Science Foundation, the lead agency for the United States Antarctic Program. “It is a tremendous honor to lead the men and women of Polar Star on this important mission,” said Capt. William Woityra, Polar Star commanding officer. “This team brought renewed energy and passion to this 46-year-old ship and overcame significant challenges to deliver exceptional results.” Read more.  

Coast Guard rescues 18 from ice floe in Lake Erie. Rescue crews from Coast Guard Air Station Detroit and from Station Marblehead, along with a good Samaritan, helped rescue 18 people from an ice floe that separated from land near Catawba Island in Lake Erie. A sheet of floating ice broke away while the individuals were snowmobiling. The helicopter crew lowered its rescue swimmer and began hoisting operations while Station Marblehead’s airboat got underway. The helicopter hoisted seven people from the floe. The Coast Guard airboat from Station Marblehead rescued four others. A Good Samaritan, who also had an airboat on scene, rescued the remaining seven, transporting them to shore. Emergency medical services were standing by, but no one required medical attention. “There’s no such thing as safe ice, but people can mitigate their risks,” said Lt. j.g. Jeremiah Schiessel, from Coast Guard Sector Detroit. “Always be sure to tell someone where you’re going and when you expect to be back. Great Lakes ice is unpredictable, and conditions can change fast.” Read more

Members of Coast Guard port security unit return home after 9-month deployment Members of Port Security Unit (PSU) 313 returned home to Everett, Wash., following their nine-month deployment to Guantanamo Bay, Cuba. During the deployment, unit operations focused on seaward security, providing more than 42,000 hours of around-the-clock waterside and shoreside anti-terrorism and force protection defense security to Department of Defense assets and personnel at Naval Station Guantanamo Bay. “The success of this unit in its deployment, in the midst of a global pandemic, is testament to the resilience of the crew and the priority each places on shipmate support and mission excellence,” said Cmdr. James W. Fitzgerald, PSU 313’s commanding officer. “Our members excelled in this joint operating environment, expanding inter-service operability and capabilities, and exceeded every established metric for accomplishing our assigned tasking. Their devotion to duty and the support from their families at home during this deployment have been inspiring. With the mission now complete, we look forward to our members reintegrating with their families.” Read more.