Chukchi Borderland Project

Daily Updates from

our Teacher at Sea


September  12

Who are the Marine Science Technicians  (MST) ?

On board the Polar Star:

            MSO Rebecca Albert

            MST1 Eldridge McFadden

            MST3 Bryan Klostermeyer

            MST3 Lee Brittle

            MST3 April Dalton

            BM3 Daryl Bresnahan

            Seaman Megan Crawford (MST soon)

BM3 Daryl Bresnahan setting up the CTD.


Rebecca Albert coordinating CTD deployment.
  These are the people on board who work most with the scientists.  They help run the CTD's and other scientific equipment on the ship, and play a role in scientific operations.  They are in charge of making sure everyone is safe.  Here are a few pictures of the MST's in action.


Lee Brittle on watch.


 What is required to become an MST in the United States Coast Guard?

   - Need to get a minimum score on the ASVAB (Armed Services Vocational Aptitude Battery) test.  It is an entrance exam for all military branches.

   -  MST "A" School (2 months).

   -  MST "C" School  (Post training, this is for specific areas of training, for example:  Satellite Imaging Analysis or Automated Weather School).

   -  At the end of your training, a list of job openings is given to you and you decide where you want to go.


Deck work aboard the Polar Star earlier in 2002
Things you will learn along the way, usually they are "OJT" (on the job training).  The MST's learn about areas they are interested in and if they fit into the ship's schedule for them to learn it.

   -  Learn about the weather (Weather observations are sent out four to eight times per day depending on where the ship is.  These reports are sent to the National Weather Service.  The MST's also give a weather update every evening to the Captain and the Scientists.

   -  MST's go on ice-reconnaissance (which means they go up in the helicopters to look for leads in the ice, which the ship might follow). 

   -  Deck work:  loading/unloading science gear, CTD, Moorings and computer equipment.

   -  Temporary duty on University Ships - UNOLS (University National Oceanographic Laboratories System).  This is where they learn techniques from the technicians on the ships. Example:  how to handle CTD's, Moorings and Computer Equipment.



Three Types of boats exist in the Coast Guard:

1.      White Boats - Law Enforcement Cutters

2.      Black Boats - Buoy Tenders  (the CG takes care of a lot of the buoys in the ocean)

3.      Red Boats - Icebreakers 

I will let you take a guess at which one I am on...


How did they get here?

MST1 Eldridge McFadden

            He joined the army in 1988.  He was enlisted for four years and during that tour of duty was in Desert Storm.  He joined the Coast Guard in 1993.  Eldridge served on a black boat first.  Later, he went to a Marine Safety Office in Portland from 1995 through 1998.  There he was responsible for monitoring ships to make sure they were within safety regulations.  Example:  There was a merchant vessel that they were checking and the lifeboat that was on board was so bad that you could put your feet through the bottom of it.  Now, how would you like to be on that boat if it went down?  He also was responsible for investigating oil spills.  Eldridge then went to a new vessel, the Healy, for three years.  Two years of that, the Healy was being built.  During the third year, the Healy took its maiden voyage.  It is a new American icebreaker that is run by the Coast Guard.  It was built for scientific research.  During that one year, they sailed to Puerto Rico, Greenland, Iceland, and Ireland, then came back home through the Northwest Passage.  He then went to Dutch Harbor, Alaska at the Marine Safety Detachment (MSD).  His job was to check fishing vessels for safety.  Eldridge then went to Seattle to work in the USCG for Electronics Support where he supported the computer networks on the Polar Star, Polar Sea, and the Healy.  Now he is serving on the Polar Star, at least until we return to Barrow, Alaska. 

Eldridge McFadden preparing
the CTD for deployment.


Bryan Klostermeyer pausing for a photo-op.
MST3 Bryan Klostermeyer

  Bryan earned a degree at Kansas State University in Chemical Engineering.  He joined the Coast Guard in July 1999.  He was first assigned on the USCGC Tahoma, which is a 270 ft. Cutter, a white boat.  He spent ten months on that ship and then went to MST "A" School.  He has now been on the Polar Star for two years.  He joined the Coast Guard because he wanted hands on work.  Most people that he knew who had a Chemical Engineering degree did not have jobs he found interesting.  He knew that if he joined the CG, he would receive the training he wanted.


Note:  "MST" also stands for "Marine Safety Technician"

If you have questions about anything in the CG, please e-mail me.