Strengthening partnerships and testing interoperability, the USCGC Escanaba (WMEC 907) and USCGC Richard Snyder (WPC 1127) participated in Operation Nanook in early to mid-August.
Operation Nanook is the Canadian Armed Forces’ signature Arctic operation. It comprises a series of comprehensive, joint, interagency, and multinational activities designed to exercise the defense of Canada, security in the Arctic Region, incident management response, and search rescue capabilities in and around the Baffin Bay and the Davis Strait. It supports the Coast Guard Arctic strategy to develop international relations with like-minded Arctic states, enhance maritime domain awareness, and expand service capabilities within the region.
Escanaba deployed with the 154-foot Sentinel-class fast response cutter Richard Snyder and an embarked members of the Maritime Security Response Team East. The operation expanded the logistical boundaries of the FRC fleet and further refined the modular capabilities of deployable special forces to enhance a cutter’s organic law enforcement capabilities.
There are two phases of Operation Nanook 2021, Tuugaalik and Tatigiit. The Tuugaalik phase brought the crews of Escanaba, Richard Snyder, and the Royal Canadian navy together to exercise best practices and demonstrate responsive capabilities to potential terrorist or adversarial threats. The training exercises included were a live-fire surface gunnery exercise, close-quarters formation steaming, towing, small boat approaches, and communication drills. In the following phase, Tatigiit, the Escanaba, and Richard Snyder teams participated in a mass casualty and pollution event along the shores of Baffin Island. Both cutters crews seamlessly supported the Royal Canadian navy in rescue and assistance procedures and creating search and rescue patterns.
In addition to conducting law enforcement operations, Escanaba’s crew participated in Frontier Sentinel, a training event with the U.S. and Royal Canadian navies. The exercise simulated a multinational response to a maritime threat and strengthened interoperability between all three services.
But what is it like to be part of the crew on this adventure? We invite you to meet some of the Escanaba team and hear their stories!
CSC Zachary Hardins:
My name is Zachary Hardins, and I am the chief culinary specialist aboard. I’m from Fayetteville, North Carolina. It was a great experience; I got to talk and trade with the crew from the Canadian navy and see the Northern Lights and icebergs, which I will never forget.
Lt. Robert Collins:
I’m Robert Collins, from Portsmouth, Virginia. This patrol was an excellent opportunity to conduct joint missions with the Canadian and Danish fleets. We were given the opportunity to be an ideal training platform.
MK1 Bradley Walker:
I’m Bradley Walker, from Geneva, Ohio. I’m a machinery technician aboard Escanaba. It’s been a fun and unique experience. I’ve gotten to see things I’ve never seen before and go to places I’ve never been, like Greenland or the Arctic Circle.
OS1 Kasey Tarbox
Hello. My name is Kasey Tarbox. I’m an operational specialist on Escanaba. I’m from Atlanta. This patrol has been a unique experience. It’s been an excellent opportunity to go to an area Escanaba hasn’t been in decades. Seeing new places and working alongside Canadian and Danish navies, and getting to do Frontier Sentinel and do a boarding exercise that I’ve never gotten to do and is a chance of a lifetime for me.
SK1 Heather McGowan
Hello. I’m Heather McGowan, and I’m a storekeeper on Escanaba. I’m from Edenton, North Carolina. During this patrol, I have met some incredible people and seen some beautiful views that I wouldn’t have been able to see in the civilian sector. Who gets to go to Nova Scotia and Greenland on a joint mission with the Canadian and Royal Danish navies? This woman – attached to the USCGC Escanaba. On top of that, I was able able to fish in some beautiful waters. This patrol was a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity! Any bad day can be made better with some fishing time!
Seaman Christopher Krotz
I’m Christopher Krotz from Queen, New York. This patrol cutting through the Arctic was full of good memories and beautiful views. I have never seen icebergs the size of islands or green lights in the night sky. I have never been to Greenland and Halifax, which share a beautiful history and amazing architecture and landscapes. To top it off, the people were extremely kind to us, and it was indeed an unforgettable experience.
USCGC Escanaba is a 270-foot Famous-class medium endurance cutter, previously known as “The Pride of Boston,” now homeported to Portsmouth.