Meet the Polar Star crew – DV2 Garett Brada

Coast Guard Petty Officer 2nd Class Garett Brada, a diver deployed aboard the U.S. Coast Guard Cutter Polar Star, prepares for a cold water dive off of McMurdo Station, Jan. 19, 2017. Divers bring the option of sub-surface support for the cutter’s command, in the event repairs or inspections are needed. U.S. Coast Guard photo by Chief Petty Officer David Mosley.

Coast Guard Petty Officer 2nd Class Garett Brada, a diver deployed aboard the U.S. Coast Guard Cutter Polar Star, prepares for a cold water dive off of McMurdo Station, Jan. 19, 2017. Divers bring the option of sub-surface support for the cutter’s command, in the event repairs or inspections are needed. U.S. Coast Guard photo by Chief Petty Officer David Mosley.

DV2 Garett Brada is deployed aboard the U.S. Coast Guard Cutter Polar Star as part of its mission to assist in the annual resupply of U.S. Antarctic Program research stations. The National Science Foundation manages the U.S. Antarctic Program.

BACKGROUND:
Name/rate/rank: DV2 Garett Brada
Number of trips to Antarctica: 1st trip
Unit/department: Diver out of Regional Dive Locker West, San Diego

Q. Where is your hometown?
A. Encinitas, CA

Q. How long have you been in the Coast Guard?
A. 10 years in May

Q. Why did you join the Coast Guard? Why do you stay/what keeps you motivated?
A. I wanted to serve my country. I stay in because of the strong leadership within the Coast Guard dive community and because we’re fortunate to have so many great mentors.

Q. What is your unit history?
A. Fireman on the U.S. Coast Guard Cutter Morro Bay (140-foot) in New London, CT, MK “A” School, Coast Guard Cutter Sea Lion, Bellingham, WA, Coast Guard Cutter Maui (PATFORSWA), Station San Francisco, Dive School (2nd Class Diver Training) at Naval Diving and Salvage Training Center in Panama City Beach, FL and now Regional Dive Locker West, San Diego, CA.

Q. What are some of your responsibilities on the Polar Star?
A. I am part of the dive detachment onboard, with a primary responsibility to support the cutter with sub-surface capabilities. This includes pitch calibrations, underwater hull surveys, cofferdam placement over the sea chest and scientific missions that require sub-surface samples.

Q. What do you do on a typical duty day?
A. My day consists of conducting maintenance on dive equipment to ensure readiness, academic review of dive theory, medical training and physical fitness. Additionally, divers help with other needs onboard to assist the permanent crew. This includes scullery duty, incinerating trash and ship clean ups.

Q. What’s your most memorable experience on the Polar Star? Why?
A. Seven days after we departed from Sydney, I saw Mount Erebus in the distance as we continued to approach the ice edge. We made it to Antarctica, which was a great feeling; however, I am looking for the opportunity to dive down here. The highlight of my trip will be when we get to dive under the ice and the ship.

Coast Guard Petty Officer 2nd Class Garett Brada, a diver deployed aboard the U.S. Coast Guard Cutter Polar Star, checks his dive gauges before a cold water ice dive off of McMurdo Station, Jan. 19, 2017. Divers bring the option of sub-surface support for the cutter’s command, in the event repairs or inspections are needed. U.S. Coast Guard photo by Chief Petty Officer David Mosley.

Coast Guard Petty Officer 2nd Class Garett Brada, a diver deployed aboard the U.S. Coast Guard Cutter Polar Star, checks his dive gauges before a cold water ice dive off of McMurdo Station, Jan. 19, 2017. Divers bring the option of sub-surface support for the cutter’s command, in the event repairs or inspections are needed. U.S. Coast Guard photo by Chief Petty Officer David Mosley.

Q. Why is this mission (Operation Deep Freeze) important? How do you/your crew contribute?
A. The reason I joined the service in the first place was to serve, and this mission is in the scientific and national security interests of the United States. Operation Deep Freeze offers Coast Guard divers the opportunity to exercise their expertise in Cold Water Ice Diving (CWID). Interestingly enough, CWID military dive training is provided by Coast Guard divers to all military dive communities. Operation Deep Freeze allows us to leverage this important training and operate in a remote and austere environment while supporting a critical international mission.

Q. What do you do for fun when not on duty (on or off the ship)? Hobbies?
A. On the ship, I spend my free time reading and studying for the servicewide exam. Additionally, I have been training for a triathlon back home in August, so I am focused on swimming, cycling and running. I also enjoy spending time with my friends and family.

Q. Anything else you’d like for us to know/include?
A. I value this opportunity to come to Antarctica. Having the chance to dive here is both a personal achievement and unique opportunity to serve my country.

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