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Dutch Harbor not equipped for family duty station, says Coast Guard

Berett Wilber
Coast Guard personnel assigned to Marine Safety Detachment Dutch Harbor serve one-year, unaccompanied tours.

The U.S. Coast Guard said in a June report that Unalaska is currently unable to support a larger Coast Guard presence, complicating efforts by the City of Unalaska to make the island a family duty station.

Coast Guard personnel assigned to Marine Safety Detachment Dutch Harbor, the station currently operated in Unalaska, serve one-year, unaccompanied tours. In recent years, the Unalaska City Council has named an increased Coast Guard presence among their top federal lobbying priorities.

As of 2023, seven personnel are assigned to MSD Dutch Harbor.

In a 2013 quality-of-life review, the Coast Guard deemed Unalaska unable to support a family duty station. They cited logistical reasons for not establishing a more permanent base, including unreliable transportation, high housing costs, limited medical and child care facilities, and limited spousal employment options.

Earlier this year, U.S. Sen. Dan Sullivan tasked the Coast Guard with reevaluating Unalaska’s ability to support a larger duty station. Ultimately, the report said “no significant changes have occurred that would enable the Coast Guard to overcome the major friction points in having dependents in Unalaska,” reaffirming their 2013 findings.

Born and raised in Raleigh, North Carolina, Andy Lusk is a writer, travel enthusiast and seafood aficionado who won the jackpot by landing in Unalaska/Dutch Harbor. When he's not hiking or working on his latest story, you can find him curled up with his cats and a good book. Andy is a Report for America corps member and an alumnus of New York University.
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