By any measure 2015 was a challenging and highly successful year for U.S. Coast Guard polar operations and the nation’s two polar icebreakers, the USCGC Polar Star (WAGB-10) and Healy (WAGB-20). Dialogue is continuing on how to rebuild the nation’s polar icebreaker fleet, with President Barack Obama weighing in on the issue in September during his visit to Alaska and in a White House Fact Sheet announcing new federal Arctic investments, including icebreakers.1 Likely not since the time of President Franklin D. Roosevelt’s request during World War II for a U.S. icebreaker fleet has a U.S. President been personally and directly involved in such issues.2
More Assets for The Arctic
The nation’s limited icebreaking capacity is finally attracting the attention it has richly deserved for so long.
By Captain Lawson Brigham, U.S. Coast Guard (Retired)