The Coast Guard Cutter Kimball crew, on a routine patrol in the Bering Sea on Sept. 19, encountered a People’s Republic of China Guided Missile Cruiser, Renhai CG 101, sailing approximately 75 nautical miles north of Kiska Island, Alaska.
The Kimball crew later identified two more Chinese naval vessels and four Russian naval vessels, including a Russian Federation Navy destroyer, all in a single formation with the Renhai as a combined surface action group operating in the U.S. Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ).
As a result, the Kimball crew is now operating under Operation Frontier Sentinel, a Seventeenth Coast Guard District operation designed to meet presence with presence when strategic competitors operate in and around U.S. waters. The U.S Coast Guard’s presence strengthens the international rules-based order and promotes the conduct of operations in a manner that follows international norms. While the surface action group was temporary in nature, and Kimball observed it disperse, the Kimball will continue to monitor activities in the U.S. EEZ to ensure the safety of U.S. vessels and international commerce in the area. A Coast Guard Air Station Kodiak C-130 Hercules air crew provided support to the Kimball’s Operation Frontier Sentinel activities.
In September 2021, Coast Guard cutters deployed to the Bering Sea and North Pacific Ocean also encountered Chinese naval vessels, including a surface action group transiting approximately 50 miles off the Aleutian Island chain.
“While the formation has operated in accordance with international rules and norms,” said Rear Adm. Nathan Moore, Seventeenth Coast Guard District commander, “we will meet presence-with-presence to ensure there are no disruptions to U.S. interests in the maritime environment around Alaska.”
Kimball is a 418-foot legend-class national security cutter homeported in Honolulu, Hawaii.
Kiska Island is part of what was known as the Rat Islands, and was the target of a coordinated attack on the United States during World War II. Along with Attu, Kiska was occupied by the Japanese military, after the imperial military leaders believed that the Doolittle Raid was launched from either Midway Island or the Aleutians. The occupation of Attu and Kiska were the peak of Japan’s expansion in the Pacific.
Read more about the Japanese occupation of Kiska Island at this National Park Service link.