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HomeNewsArchivesCoast Guard Officer Dalmida to Antarctica, then American Samoa

Coast Guard Officer Dalmida to Antarctica, then American Samoa

Feb. 24, 2005 – Coast Guard Master Chief Petty Officer Myron Dalmida may not have considered where he might end up when he signed on to the Coast Guard after his 1978 graduation from Charlotte Amalie High School. Then again, maybe he did.
His 25 years with the Coast Guard have based him variously in Hawaii, Guam, and all over the United States: Miami, Fla.; Boston, Mass.; St. Louis, Mo.; Governors Island, N.Y.; Kodiak, Alaska — well, that last one gave him a clue that he'd meet weather unlike the Virgin Islands. And when he was assigned to a Coast Guard icebreaker Polar Sea and her sister ship Polar Star, it was for certain he'd be off to un-tropical seas.
For the last several months he's been aboard the Coast Guard icebreaker Polar Star, based in Seattle, but deployed to Antarctica. The missions in the polar regions include icebreaking a channel to the research station in the Ross Sea to allow resupply ships and providing a scientific platform for several kinds of scientific research. With five laboratories, accommodations for up to 20 scientists, and cranes near stern and port side support at-sea studies in geology, vulcanology, oceanography, sea-ice physics, among others.
Coast Guard Lt. Alvin F. Dalmida, Myron Dalmida's nephew, sent him an e-mail saying, "Hey man! You are most likely the first Virgin Islander to go to Antarctica and the South Pole – in fact to any pole."
En route back to Seattle, the ship (and Officer Dalmida) were diverted to help with search and rescue missions in American Samoa.
President George W. Bush declared American Samoa a major disaster area after Olaf hit the area Feb. 16 as a Category 5 storm with sustained winds of 160 mph and gusts to 190 mph, almost entirely wiping out homes in one village in the Manua Islands, where 1300 residents waited out the storm in shelters. Three fishing vessels with 18 fishermen aboard were missing early on; a Coast Guard aircraft located four survivors from one of the vessels in a liferaft on Feb. 18, resulting in their rescue. Waves up to 40 feet high hit some islands, according to media reports out of Seattle.
The 399-foot, 13,000-ton Polar Star carries two helicopters, and a crew of 15 officers and 126 enlisted personnel who are trained in navigation, engineering, welding, machinery repair, electronics, boat handling, firefighting, damage control, diving, medicine and other skills, according to the official Web site. All of those special skills may be put to good use in the diverted assignment in ravaged American Samoa before the ship proceeds to homeport Seattle.

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