The U.S. Coast Guard is setting up for activities in Kotzebue this summer and summers to come. The Coast Guard signed a five-year lease with the Alaska Army National Guard facility in Kotzebue. It’s the first long-term lease for the Coast Guard above the Arctic Circle and will serve as a station for Arctic operations.
U.S. Coast Guard Tribal Liaison Sudie Hargis is based in Juneau. She was part of a team that visited Nome last week for an oil spill response drill. Hargis says having the Coast Guard stationed in Kotzebue offers an opportunity for more local search and rescue and disaster response support. An Arctic liaison officer will also connect with community members in Nome, Kotzebue, and Barrow.
Hargis says the Coast Guard is still deciding where to establish a “hard infrastructure” for Arctic operations, but this five-year lease does “provide a lot of capability to come up to the region and operate for the people of Alaska.”
The State of Alaska turns over the Kotzebue Army National Guard hangar Friday. It will be marked by a Coast Guard MH-60T Jayhawk helicopter rolling into the facility followed by a community barbecue. In addition, both the State and NANA Corporation will honor former National Guard adjutant general John Schaeffer.
The Coast Guard will be in operation in Kotzebue from July through October.
This story originates from KNOM Radio Mission and was published with permission.