Alaska's Arctic coast is 1,060 miles long. The nearest Coast Guard station is hundreds of miles away in Kodiak. Aside from the occasional cutter that sails through, the Coast Guard's only presence in this northern maritime frontier are two Jayhawk helicopters stationed each year at different locations as part of Operation Arctic Shield.
This year, the seasonal base for Arctic Shield was a hangar in Deadhorse, amid Alaska's North Slope oil infrastructure. From Deadhorse and other locations in the Arctic, the Coast Guard conducted various exercises simulating scenarios ranging from oil spills to search and rescue.
As winter conditions set in and maritime activity came to a standstill, the Jayhawks recently departed, marking the end of the operation for the season.
Read more: Coast Guard wraps up busy season in the Arctic
Alaska Dispatch Publishing