Mission Support Blog

From Cali to Kiwi: A LOG-X Travelogue



Remember that old FedEx slogan “When it absolutely, positively has to be there overnight”?

Well, what if “it” is a bunch of parts from different locations in the United States that have to be...

On a cutter.

Icebreaking off Antarctica.


Due respect to intrepid package delivery personnel, that makes for a bit of a special case – which is where LOG-X, the Expeditionary Logistics Division of the Coast Guard’s Operational Logistics Command, comes in.

When LOG-X gets a call that a cutter in a “remote or austere” location needs a part, a person, or other support, it’s their job to figure out how to get it there. So, when the message came that CGC POLAR STAR needed a critical part during their annual icebreaking trip to McMurdo Station, Antarctica, LOG-X was on it. Specifically, Ensigns Jon Myette and Luis Santiago-Cosme.

As Deployment Support Officers assigned to the CGC POLAR STAR, ENSs Myette and Santiago-Cosme spend their time keeping up with everything their assigned cutters deployed to faraway waters might need. They follow contracting traffic to see if there are ways they can proactively address issues, help get important shipments through logistical hoops like diplomatic clearances, and connect cutters with nearby embassies. They also work with foreign governments to ensure that everything a cutter might need is available during port calls.  ENS Myette described the work of LOG-X this way:

 “We’re the people who, as long as it’s feasible, are going to say ‘yes’ as often as we can to fix problems. We’ll work dynamic angles and think differently. We are willing to do everything within reason and legality to get parts and people into and out of places that the Coast Guard doesn’t have a built-in process for.”

In the case of CGC POLAR STAR the team got word that the ship was down to one Controllable Pitch Propeller (CPP) due to a coolant leak. That meant that the nation’s only heavy icebreaker was sitting in Antarctic ice and couldn’t turn. Partnering with Surface Forces Logistics Center (SFLC), meetings were swiftly held, logistics discussed, and a plan devised. It started out with just ENS Santiago-Cosme ferrying the single, small part required to fix the coolant leak. But the plan soon changed to include carrying more, larger parts, and required a second set of hands. That’s when ENS Myette stepped in and the two prepared for the long journey to Christchurch, New Zealand, where the U.S. Antarctic Program is based.

Following the delivery of the parts by SFLC to the LOG-X team, they embarked on their journey spanning over 20 hours from California to New Zealand.

Once on the ground in Christchurch, ENS Myette and Santiago-Cosme handed over the parts for CGC POLAR STAR to the Coast Guard Liaison Officer, who put them on the world’s only ski-equipped C-130 aircraft (affectionately known as a “Skibird”), for the final leg of their journey to the cutter out in the Antarctic ice.  

Both ENS Myette and ENS Santiago-Cosme enthusiastically nerded out over the chance to get an up-close look at the LC-130 before the unique aircraft departed Christchurch.

“I’m a former C-130 loadmaster,” said ENS Myette, “so it was on my bucket list of things to see it take off.” ENS Santiago-Cosme agreed: “I’ve never been inside a C-130 or really so close to a military airplane, so that was awesome for me.”

Cool airplanes aside, both also enjoy the opportunities their job provides them to see Mission Support through from beginning to end.

“My favorite part of doing this job is getting to make a difference – letting operators operate,” said ensign Myette. “It gives me a lot of job satisfaction because these cutters, they’re operating and trying to fix a casualty. The last thing they need to worry about is where the pipe they need to fix the casualty is coming from, how it’s going to get there, when it will get there…For us to be able to say ‘hey, don’t worry about that, work on fixing the pipe, work on operating, work on training, work on staying sharp – we’ll take care of that other thing.’ I really enjoy that.”

ENS Santiago-Cosme seconded ENS Myette’s thoughts, adding “I like receiving the emails that the mission is complete, the part that was causing the issue has been fixed, that’s really good to receive that.”

Responsive, integrated, innovative Mission Support in action! Bravo Zulu to the mission support efforts of SFLC and LOG-X for making sure parts and people “absolutely, positively” get there when they’re needed.

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