Conn. Wing Assisting in Coast Guard's River Ice Breaking Mission
Col. James A. Ridley
Rivers in Connecticut are experiencing massive flooding and ice jams in some parts, and the U.S. Coast Guard is tasked with breaking up the ice jams with the Connecticut Wing’s assistance.
Each winter, aircrews from the Connect Wing make ice patrol flights to photograph ice formations as well as ice jams, forwarding those images to the Coast Gard station in New Haven. The Coast Guard uses the photos in identifying the location of the largest concentration of ice formations along a river and around various bridges spanning it.
On Jan. 17 the Coast Guard asked the Connecticut Wing to perform morning and afternoon flights the next day to photograph formations and jams along the Connecticut River, focusing its efforts in the Essex, Haddam and Middletown areas. Coast Guard Cutter Bollard, a 65-foot ship, and one other ice breaker were traveling from Old Saybrook to Middletown, chopping up ice and reducing the risk of flooding.
The Connecticut Wing was tasked with relaying aerial photographs to the New Haven station and to the Bollard directly, directing them to specific ice formations. The aircrew was able to relay the major jams’ GPS location as well as their length to the Bollard.
The afternoon mission’s photographs enabled the Coast Guard to determine its efforts’ success that day.
The Bollard, which can break up to 12 inches of ice at a time without having to stop, will be patrolling the river through the weekend. The Connecticut Wing has scheduled more ice patrol sorties during the coming days to support its efforts.