Early this week Coast Guard Air Station Kodiak opened up its forward operating base in the Aleutian community of Cold Bay. The base consists of one MH-60 Jayhawk helicopter and an aircrew. The facility is active from October to mid-March.
Petty Officer Charly Hengen is a public affairs specialist with the Coast Guard. She says positioning a helicopter and emergency responders in Cold Bay help the Coast Guard better respond to emergencies in the region.
“The Coast Guard can respond significantly faster, approximately, maybe, 2 to 3 hours faster if we were not in Cold Bay. When we haven’t been there in cases where we have had to go down to the Aleutian Chain or respond to a fishing vessel near Cold Bay it has taken us longer to actually get out there.”
The reason the Coast Guard opens up the base on a yearly basis is the influx of fishing vessels in the region due to winter fisheries, like the winter crab season. According to a Coast Guard press release, it’ll also have a cutter patrolling the region throughout the winter.