Coast Guard Cutter Alex Haley Returns to Alaska

U.S. Coast Guard cutter Alex Haley. Photo: Chief Petty Officer Matthew Schofield/U.S. Coast Guard District 17.

The Coast Guard cutter Alex Haley returned to its homeport at Coast Guard Base Kodiak, Alaska on Jan. 13 following an extended seven month dry dock maintenance period in Seattle.

While in dry dock, the crew and contractors successfully completed more than $6 million worth of repairs, according to the Guard.

The engineering department oversaw 76 work items including major overhauls on the cutter’s controllable pitch propeller system, speed reducers, rudders, and boilers, along with inspections of fuel, sewage, and water tanks.

The operations department supervised a renewal of the cutter’s flight deck, navigation systems, and electronics while maintaining critical law enforcement currencies. Additionally, the deck department completed vast amounts of painting and topside preservation, according to the Coast Guard.

When crewmembers weren’t directly involved in repairs, they participated in temporary duty training opportunities to gain technical proficiencies. Specifically, some were sent to Southern California to aid in migrant operations, supported scientific missions in the Arctic, and played a key role in the Rim of the Pacific 2022 Naval Exercise, which were participated in with 33 partner nations.

The entire crew also attended advanced damage control schools hosted by Naval Base Kitsap in Bremerton, Wash. Crewmembers were taught plugging, patching and dewatering techniques in the classroom then went hands-on, applying their knowledge to simulated flooding in a wet trainer.

Firefighting tactics were also honed while combating real fires during two scenarios that mimicked plausible casualties on a cutter like the Alex Haley, according to the Guard.

“The crew worked tirelessly to make significant material and aesthetic improvements to the cutter which will have long-term benefits as we continue to prepare for future patrols in the Bering Sea,” Alex Haley’s commanding officer, Cmdr. Brian Whisler said. “Seven months is a long time to be away from home and we are thrilled to be reunited with our family, friends, and our Kodiak community.”

The Alex Haley is a 52-year-old 282-foot Medium Endurance Cutter that has been homeported in Kodiak since 1999. The crew routinely operates throughout the Bering Sea, the Gulf of Alaska, and the Pacific Ocean.

The Alex Haley’s ability to operate in extreme weather conditions provides the mission flexibility necessary to perform search and rescue, fisheries law enforcement, and vessel safety inspections across Alaska.

Following its dry dock period, the Alex Haley was to continue operating as the Coast Guard’s primary asset in the Bering Sea with renewed and improved capabilities.