The Coast Guard Base in Kodiak plans to add more than 100 service members over the next six years. And they have already started arriving.
That’s according to Raymond Reichl, Chief of External affairs for Coast Guard District 17. He says the extra coast guardsmen are needed to operate and maintain more technologically advanced vessels and aircraft arriving over the next few years.
“This includes the offshore patrol cutters, the C-130J fixed wing aircraft and the fast response cutters,” said Reichl. “With these new assets there are additional personnel that will be assigned either to operate or to maintain the assets that are coming online. And this will be the bulk of why 117 new personnel will be assigned to the Kodiak area.”
Reichl says the C-130 can fly higher and faster than the old model, which allows it to serve a greater range with a quicker response time.
The new cutters will replace the 110-foot patrol boat fleet that has been serving in Alaska since the 80s and is at the end of its service life. He says the 154-foot cutters can perform missions in more severe weather and environmental conditions.
Reichl says the influx of Guard members will spur construction of new housing, support facilities and other infrastructure on base. And he says Kodiak will likely notice more Guard members and their families in the community.
“The Coast Guard did a study and looked at the estimates of how many families would be coming,” said Reichl. “And out the 117 personnel that will be coming, there is an average between 37 and 50 of those that will have families with them and they’ll be living in combination of on base as well as in town.”
He says infrastructure projects to prepare maintenance facilities as well as pier and hanger upgrades are scheduled to begin this summer.
About 1,100 active duty and civilian employees are currently stationed in Kodiak.