USS EASTWIND was the second of the seven icebreakers of the "Wind" class constructed for the United States Coastguard Service. It was hurled on February 6th, 1943 entering almost immediately to the active service, with Boston as home port as of 1944.
Initially it was assigned to the fleet in charge of resupplying the allied bases in Greenland, and was one of the two icebreakers that participated in World War II.
It had a central paper in the capture of a German meteorological detachment operating in Little Koldeyey and the capture of another German unit the ship "Externsteine" in neighborhoods of Shannon island.
After the end of the war the Eastwind returned to his supplying tasks on the US Arctic stations serving several military and scientific programes.
During one of those trips in 1952, the ship served as platform to launch several smalls stratospheric balloons under the scientific guidance of the famous scientist James Van Allen, then working at the University of Iowa in a joint project with the Navy to launch small research rockets from balloons in the stratosphere. The balloons served as a virtual "first stage" for the rocket wich were fired when they reached the stratosphere thus allowing a better performance and longer range with a minimal effort. That special combination of a balloon and a rocket would be known as "ROCKOON".
Also during that first campaign where launched another balloons with conventional loads with several experiments for the Universities of Chicago and New York mainly devoted to the cosmic ray investigation.
Besides some failures the experience was successful, and by that reason Van Allen repeated the ROCKOON firings fron the Eastwinds in the Summer Arctic cruises of the vessel in 1953 and by the last time in 1954.
During the rest of his life, the icebreaker continued mainly with their routine of supplying the Arctic bases, with the exception of one trip to Antarctica in 1960, wich become the first global circumnavigation of a ship of this kind and the participation in the so called operation "Deep Freeze" between years 1963 and 1967.
Finally, after 20 years of service, on December 1968, wase decomissioned, being sold for scrap 4 years later.
Table of balloons launched from the USCGC Eastwind