Meet the neglected 43-year-old stepchild of the U.S. military-industrial complex

Polar Star
The Coast Guard’s Polar Star breaks ice in Antarctica’s McMurdo Sound, clearing a path for a cargo vessel to deliver supplies for National Science Foundation research bases.
(Nick Ameen / U.S. Coast Guard)

Richard Read is the Los Angeles Times bureau chief in Seattle, covering Washington, Oregon, Montana, Idaho, Alaska and Hawaii.