By the 17th Coast Guard District
Newark native and Petty Officer 1st Class Joseph Gonzales, a boatswain’s mate on the Coast Guard Cutter Bertholf, deployed Aug. 21 with the ship to the Arctic Ocean as part of the Coast Guard’s Operation Arctic Shield mission.
As a boatswain’s mate, Gonzales’ job aboard the Bertholf includes being the pilot and coxswain on the ships smallboats, standing watch on the bridge, and being a law enforcement boarding team member.
Operation Arctic Shield 2012 will give the Coast Guard and Bertholf an opportunity to test capabilities to ensure the right resources are available to conduct maritime safety and security operations in the region.
“Being part of Arctic Shield 2012 aboard Bertholf is a great honor and opportunity for me,” said Gonzales. “Our ship got its names sake from Ellsworth P. Bertholf, who is a legend in the Arctic region for being part of one of most perilous rescue missions in maritime history up in the Arctic, saving 270 whalers trapped in ice. I would love to have the opportunity to be part of something like that while I am up here.”
In U.S. waters, the Coast Guard has a responsibility to conduct its 11 statutory missions. During Operation Arctic Shield it will focus on: ports, waterways and coastal security; search and rescue; aids to navigation; living marine resources; marine safety; defense readiness; marine environmental protection; ice operations and law enforcement.
The Coast Guard is the nation’s lead federal agency for ensuring maritime safety, security and stewardship and will be a leader in the advancement of U.S. national interests in the Arctic maritime domain.
It is dedicated to ensuring the protection of the Arctic maritime environment and of all those who depend upon it.
The Coast Guard has a long and proud history of working in Alaska dating back to the Revenue Cutter Service as late as the 1860’s. Alaska Native partners are a vital part of Operation Arctic Shield and the Coast Guard values their knowledge and expertise to reach common goals.
For more imagery from Arctic Shield 2012, please visit www.cgvi.uscg.mil.