USCG Commandant Stops in Kodiak on Way to Arctic

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United States Coast Guard Commandant Admiral Bob Papp. U.S. Coast Guard photo by Petty Officer 3rd Class Jonathan Lally.

Brianna Gibbs/KMXT

Coast Guard Base Kodiak is the largest in the nation and this weekend it hosted the service’s highest ranking officer. The Commandant of the U.S. Coast Guard, Admiral Bob Papp, arrived in Kodiak Saturday and left yesterday afternoon. His visit to Kodiak was part of a two week trip that began in San Diego, stopped in Seattle and will continue north to Barrow.

Papp said he came to Alaska to make some assessments about the future of the Coast Guard, especially as it relates to the Arctic.

(USCG Commandant 2: :36 sec "Uh, I have with me …our duties in the Arctic.")

He said as the Coast Guard looks toward a future in the Arctic, building seasonal stations may be an option. He said Air Station Kodiak would still play a large role in that equation.

(USCG Commandant 3: :28sec "So what I’d envision … deploy them.")

With regards to Arctic and Antarctic operations, Papp mentioned his concerns with the lack of ice breakers available to the Coast Guard. He said there needs to be a greater investment in the fleet, especially as the nation looks toward a future in the Arctic.

(USCG Commandant 4: :33 sec "And it doesn’t … to get the funding for them.")

He said a high latitude study was just completed by an independent third party that determined the country should have at least six polar ice breakers in order to maintain a presence and carry out duties in both the Arctic and Antarctic. While the country is far behind that quota, Papp remained optimistic that more will come.

Papp traveled to Kodiak with United States Secretary of the Interior Ken Salazar, who came to look at the future of oil drilling in the Arctic, and what role the Coast Guard might play in that.

(USCG Commandant 5: :31 sec "At some point very soon … nothing up there.")

In general, Papp said he is always pleased with Coast Guard Base Kodiak and said it is one of the most challenging in the nation.

(USCG Commandant 6: :40 sec "We have other air … the distances.")

Papp left for Anchorage yesterday and will continue on to Barrow later this week.

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