This is the 13th blog post in a series about ICEX 2011 by Jeff Gossett, Arctic Submarine Laboratory’s ICEX 2011 Exercise Director written on March 20, 2011.
We’ve been busy. Friday we had a group of media arrive at the camp – a reporter and a photographer from the Reuters news service; two free-lance photographers; and a Navy media specialist. They spent all day and Friday night at the camp learning about and documenting life at an ice camp (undoubtedly much better than I can).
Then Saturday, they were joined by a delegation of 12 VIPs headed by the Secretary of the Navy and including the Under Secretary of Defense and three congressmen. Together, they watched CONNECTICUT break through the ice again at Marvin Gardens. The VIP delegation boarded CONNECTICUT for the night while the reporters embarked aboard NEW HAMPSHIRE.
This was a complex operation requiring our support teams travelling to both surfacing sites, getting our visitors to Marvin Gardens, transporting the reporters to Water Works to board the NEW HAMPSHIRE, then getting all of our people home along with 18 sailors from the boats who we hosted overnight to help make room on board. The helicopter crew flew almost non-stop to move all of these pieces around the arctic chessboard and to complete it all before sunset grounded them for the night. And at the end of an exhausting day, we had 18 curious sailors at APLIS wanting to know everything about camp life.
Then today, we did it all over again in reverse. The sailors are back on board their submarines and our visitors are headed home, all taking with them the memories of an Arctic adventure and a new appreciation for the work the Navy is doing here in the North.
Both of the submarines are submerged again and continuing with our testing program.