Ceremony in Kodiak, Alaska, marks the deployment of NOAA ships Fairweather and Rainier

To mark the deployment of NOAA ships Fairweather and Rainier as they begin a summer of hydrographic survey projects in the Arctic, NOAA hosted a ceremony at the U.S. Coast Guard (USCG) base in Kodiak, Alaska.

The ceremony opened with a joint USCG and NOAA color guard while the national anthem was sung by retired USCG Chief Aviation Machinist Mate, Joe Symonoski. Rear Admiral Gerd Glang, director of the Office of Coast Survey, gave opening remarks.

Presentation of colors by a joint U.S. Coast Guard and NOAA color guard.
Presentation of colors by a joint U.S. Coast Guard and NOAA color guard.

“Characteristically, we are quite modest about the missions and accomplishments of our NOAA ships. But today, we are taking the time to recognize the planned deployment of both ships to undertake hydrographic surveys in the U.S. Arctic,” Glang said. “It is important for us because of the renewed investment NOAA is making in this region at a time when the Arctic has become more accessible to marine transportation.”

Vice Admiral Michael Devany, deputy under secretary for operations at NOAA, was the keynote speaker and provided comments on NOAA’s mission, the history of charting in the region, the importance of partnerships and safety, and directed inspirational words to the crew.

“At the end of the day, the Nation relies on the work you do, for protection of life, property, and livelihoods,” Devany said. “Many of you may have heard that we know more about the surface of the moon and have mapped more of the surface of Mars than our own planet. You are the ones who are going to change that.”

Four additional speakers were featured during the ceremony:

  • Captain Jeffrey Westling, commanding officer, USCG Base, Kodiak
  • Greg Kaplan, military and veterans liaison for Senator Murkowski
  • Commander Edward Van Den Ameele, commanding officer of NOAA Ship Rainier
  • Commander David Zezula, commanding officer of NOAA Ship Fairweather

To involve the local community in Kodiak, Coast Survey hosted an art contest at local elementary schools. Children were asked to illustrate what the ocean means to them or what they think it is like to be on a research vessel. The three winners from Kodiak Christian School were recognized at the ceremony. Their prize was a tour of NOAA Ship Rainier.

Art contest winners admire their artwork and are recognized by Rear Admiral Glang during the ceremony.
Art contest winners admire their artwork and are recognized by Rear Admiral Glang during the ceremony.

The ceremony was concluded with a performance by the Kodiak Alutiiq Dancers. Wearing beaded headdresses and clothing, the dancers told stories of fair weather, kayaking, and peace. The Kodiak Alutiiq Dancers, whose members range from toddlers to adults, traditionally pass on knowledge about their heritage and everyday life through dance and song. They have been performing since 1987.

Kodiak Alutiiq Dancers performed during the deployment ceremony.
Kodiak Alutiiq Dancers performed dances about fair weather, kayaking, and peace, during the deployment ceremony.

Following the ceremony, Captain Jeffrey Westling, commanding officer of USCG Base Kodiak, provided a tour of the base.

Rear Admiral Glang, Vice Admiral Devany, and Captain Todd Bridgeman speak with Melissa Rivera, commanding officer of the USCG air station in Kodiak, Alaska.
Rear Admiral Glang, Vice Admiral Devany, and Captain Todd Bridgeman speak with Captain Melissa Rivera, commanding officer of the USCG air station in Kodiak, Alaska.
Captain Jeffrey Westling, Commanding Officer of USCB Base Kodiak and Rear Admiral Glang exchange command coins following a tour of the base.
Captain Jeffrey Westling and Rear Admiral Gerd Glang stand alongside Vice Admiral Michael Devany as they exchange command coins following a tour of the base.

This blog is monitored during regular working hours (8 am to 5 pm, ET), and we will moderate comments as soon as possible. Approval of comments offered during evenings or weekends may be delayed.

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s