The Stratford, CT-based
international Glacier Society has established an office in Fort
Lauderdale, FL to broaden member support for the restoration and
redeployment of the USS/USCGC Glacier, a post-World War II icebreaker
that conducted a record-breaking 39 missions to the Arctic and Antarctic.
The Florida facility was announced by society chairman Bernard
G. Koether II, who noted the significance of Fort Lauderdale as
the center of the nation’s cruise ship industry, processing
more than 50,000 visitors over year-end holidays alone.
Koether added, “The industry leadership is in South Florida
and we are seeking participation and support from within the industry
to help us operate Glacier efficiently.”
The Glacier Society is a non-profit 501-(c)3 Educational Foundation
dedicated to the restoration and operation of the USS/USCGC Glacier
in honor of all who served in the exploration of the North and South
The Glacier is moored in the Maritime Administration’s Defense
Reserve Fleet Facility in Susuin Bay, north of San Francisco, where
volunteer work crews carry out restoration efforts.
In a recent progress report on the ship’s restoration, Koether
wrote, “Dr. Bruce Becker of Brown University Emergency Medicine
has crafted a business plan for the proposed medical operations
aboard Glacier. This document has been circulated for peer review
at Yale University and the University of Alaska, as well as the
Institute of Circumpolar Health.
“Suffice to say, we have a good mission and a good plan,
and are well on the way to creating a detailed design and specification
for the conversion of the ship. Enthusiasm in Alaska and other circumpolar
nations is growing and bringing us increased support for our mission,”
In addition to her Arctic and Antarctic deployments, the Glacier
is one of only a few United States ships to serve under the colors
of both the US Navy and the US Coast Guard.
“Once the Glacier has been restored, she will be the ideal
scientific/oceanographic platform on which to conduct various levels
of environmental research. She will be involved with today's major
polar research centers, studying oceanographic diversities and biological
samples from polar waters,” Koether said.
The restored ship, he added, will operate as a certified school
ship. Hands-on training will be provided for all levels from K-12
“The Glacier,” Koether continued, “exemplifies
the best of America in action: military service personnel, scientists,
and citizens working together with the government for a common good.
She will serve as a major tourist attraction to Bridgeport, CT.
While in port, she will house a museum honoring all men and women
who have explored vast regions of the world and served for their
Built by the Ingalls Shipbuilding Corp., Pascagoula, MI, the Glacier
was launched Aug. 27, 1954. Her many innovations were state-of-the-art
and her subsequent 33-year performance history with the U. S. Navy
and the U. S. Coast Guard proved overwhelmingly impressive.
Commissioned May 27,1955, Glacier was the free world’s largest
and most powerful icebreaker, capable of breaking ice up to 20 feet
thick. Her Navy service extended to June 30, 1966, when she was
transferred to the Coast Guard, under which she served until decommissioning
in May 1987.
Named for Glacier Bay off the Alaskan coast, the ship was painted
red in 1972 in order to improve visibility in Arctic regions. In
the following year, all other icebreakers, except Mackinaw, also
were painted red.
The Glacier represented the “Glacier” class of icebreakers,
a scaled-up version of the “Wind” class, and had extended
range, heavier ice-breaking capability and extended mission duration.
She supported numerous polar scientific explorations, made several
Antarctic landings and penetrations not previously accomplished,
and performed a number of ship rescues.
For information regarding the Glacier Society and its mission,
visit www.glaciersociety.org or phone
561-543-1288 or 203 375-6638 for more information.
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