Meet the Polar Star crew – Lt. Adam Erwin

Lt. Adam Erwin, U.S. Coast Guard 1st District reserve chaplain, deployed aboard the Cutter Polar Star, poses for a photo while on the cutter’s bridge, Jan. 14, 2017. Erwin is responsible for the spiritual, emotional and religious support of the Polar Star crew during their deployment to Antarctica. U.S. Coast Guard photo by Chief Petty Officer David Mosley.

Lt. Adam Erwin, U.S. Coast Guard 1st District reserve chaplain, deployed aboard the Cutter Polar Star, poses for a photo while on the cutter’s bridge, Jan. 14, 2017. Erwin is responsible for the spiritual, emotional and religious support of the Polar Star crew during their deployment to Antarctica. U.S. Coast Guard photo by Chief Petty Officer David Mosley.

Lt. Adam Erwin 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: Lt. Adam Erwin
Married/Kids (if so for how long): Married 7 years – 1 child (boy) 17 months
Number of trips to Antarctica: First Trip
Unit/department: Chaplain

Q. Where is your hometown?
A. Dewy Rose, GA (born and raised)
I’m currently living in Honea Path (read as Honey Path), SC, teaching 8th Grade Social Studies in Abbeville, SC at Wright Middle School.

Q. How long have you been a Coast Guard Chaplain?
A. 3 months as a Coast Guard Chaplain, but serving in the U.S. Navy for 9 years (all reserve time).

Q. Why did you want to be a Coast Guard Chaplain? Why do you stay/what keeps you motivated?
A.

  • Every chaplain I have talked to has said they wished they could stay as a Coast Guard Chaplain and do it for their whole career.
  • The emphasis the Coast Guard has on taking care of its people.
  • The Coast Guard is always doing the mission, not just training. The ministry, my call from God and the service to my country keeps me motivated. This is the ministry I believe God has called me to.

 

Q. What is your unit history?
A. First Coast Guard unit was the District 1 reserve chaplain and currently deployed aboard the Polar Star. In the Navy, I was the acting deputy fleet chaplain for the 6th Fleet.

Q. What are some of your responsibilities on Polar Star?
A. I provide divine services for the crew, as well as supporting the command’s religious program. It is my job to support the spiritual, emotional and religious needs of the crew.

Lt. Adam Erwin, U.S. Coast Guard 1st District reserve chaplain, deployed aboard the Cutter Polar Star, speaks with members of the cutter’s deck department, Jan. 14, 2017. Erwin joined the crew in Sydney, Australia, and is providing support during the deployment to Antarctica. U.S. Coast Guard photo by Chief Petty Officer David Mosley.

Lt. Adam Erwin, U.S. Coast Guard 1st District reserve chaplain, deployed aboard the Cutter Polar Star, speaks with members of the cutter’s deck department, Jan. 14, 2017. Erwin joined the crew in Sydney, Australia, and is providing support during the deployment to Antarctica. U.S. Coast Guard photo by Chief Petty Officer David Mosley.

Q. What do you do on a typical duty day?
A. I attend daily briefings with the command and the crew. Additionally, I go around the cutter to talk with and listen to crewmembers. Occasionally, I will sit down with the command and listen to their needs and concerns.

Q. What’s your most memorable experience on Polar Star? Why?
A. What hasn’t been memorable? Everything from being in Sydney for the New Year celebration to being on the Antarctic ice. Overall, just being down here is very memorable.

Q. Why is this mission important? How do you contribute?
A. Even before I was a reserve chaplain, I heard of the Polar Star and its combined mission to support the resupply efforts in Antarctica. I really enjoy the joint effort between the military, oceanography, shipping support and scientific support.

Q. What do you do for fun when not on duty (on or off the ship)? Hobbies?
A. Between my newborn son and my school lesson planning, I don’t seem to have a lot of extra time. I enjoy reading, studying history and cultures, family history, Star Trek, tennis, hiking and taking care of our 17 pets (dogs, cat, rabbits and ducks). I just finished my doctorate of ministry from Erskine Theological Seminary, as well.

Q. Anything else you’d like for us to know/include?
A.

  • I was a hospital chaplain for the Anderson, SC AnMed Health Hospital emergency room and psychiatric ward.
  • I worked as an assistant pastor with my father- in- law for seven years in Honea Path, SC.
  • I’ve been teaching for two years.
  • My first deployment in the service was to the NATO School in Germany for Chaplain Operations.

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