Lt. Governor Treadwell Welcomes Arctic Submarine Exercise
March 18, 2011, 160 nautical miles north of Prudhoe Bay, AK - Lt. Governor Mead Treadwell welcomed the crew of the USS Connecticut, a nuclear powered Seawolf class attack submarine, to exercises near the Applied Physics Laboratory Ice Station 2011, a U.S. Navy ice camp north of Prudhoe Bay.
The Ice Exercise is a long-standing program by which the U.S. Submarine Force develops and hones its Arctic operational and war-fighting skills. This year’s exercise includes participation by British and Canadian submarine force officers.
The USS Connecticut surfaced through the 26" thick ice Wednesday morning after a two-week trip from its base in Bremerton, Washington. It met up with a Virginia class submarine, the USS New Hampshire, which had made a two-week trip to Alaska's Arctic from its base in Groton, CT, and had surfaced on Tuesday.
"These two submarines came here from two ends of an Arctic shipping route that explorers have pursued for the last 500 years – and activity in the Arctic will only continue to grow,” Lt. Gov. Treadwell said to the U.S. Navy officers, scientists, Alaska-based helicopter pilots, and technicians gathered in the 40-person ice camp.
"Alaska's Arctic is vital to the nation for many reasons,” Treadwell said. “The energy we produce at Prudhoe Bay – and could be producing elsewhere in the Arctic, onshore and offshore – is significant. Our Arctic wildlife is prized by locals and people around the world. We are positioned strategically for national security. It’s imperative that the United States has the capability to defend our interests in the Arctic. This exercise, held every two or three years, helps expand both our scientific knowledge of the Arctic and our defense capability," Treadwell said.
The lieutenant governor joined Rear Admiral Nevin Carr, Chief of Naval Research; Rear Admiral David Titley, Oceanographer and Navigator of the Navy; and Rear Admiral Christopher Colvin, Commander, Coast Guard District Seventeen, in the overnight visit to the camp, where plywood "hooches" housed the science teams in the -27 degree Arctic weather.
The ice station, established for the Navy’s Arctic Submarine Laboratory by the University of Washington, will operate off Alaskan shores during March and April of this year. The last such exercise was held in 2009.