NINE WONDERFUL YEARS IN THE COAST GUARD

by Andy Sallet

 

Mr. Sallet had an interesting "half-career".........

I enlisted in August 1938 at New York. The Coast Guard did not have a "boot camp" at that time; if they did, I never saw it.

I was sent to the CGC CHELAN in Boston and a few days later on to Portland, Me. and the CGC ALGONQUIN, still in civilian clothes. I was told I could draw the proper uniforms when we were near a Naval Supply Depot.

The ALGONQUIN was always in hot water. In Portland, we were approaching the fuel dock. The captain and executive officer were arguing on the bridge about which side to moor to and did not notice our speed. The bosun let go the anchors and we ran like heck aft as the ship tore its way through three-quarters of the dock.

These were the rough sailing days. A hurricane was coming up the coast and we had both anchor chains out, but every boat in the harbor was adrift and on the rocks. Our captain had us pull up the anchors and head for the breakwater. I had the wheel as we hit the breakwater and the seas were gigantic; I was thrown backwards and landed in the rear of the wheelhouse as the bow went up over 50 degrees. The bosun took the wheel and the captain ordered me up the mast as lookout. The lookout platform, halfway up the mast, was surrounded by a heavy canvas shield, which sure helped a lot. Winds were over 100 mph and the swells were between 50 and 75 feet from trough to trough.

We got about a mile or so offshore and couldn't make more headway. I would open the speaking tube and yell down, "lights astern getting brighter." We were backing down slowly toward the rocky shore. I tried to keep looking ahead but the wind and water really hurt.

I did see one thing that was fascinating. Inside one of the waves ahead and off to the port slightly, a Coast Guard ‘six-biter’* came out of the waves ahead towing a fishing boat toward the Gloucester harbor entrance. The boat was almost underwater when I first saw him.

The weather went on like this all night as the East Coast, from New Jersey to Maine, took a beating. We were able to make some headway and moved away from shore the following evening. After the hurricane, we were running from Boston to one of the cities on Long Island Sound. Going through the Cape Cod Canal, three of us were on the bow with long poles, pushing houses out of our way. On the southern end of the canal there was a lighthouse with a lightkeeper and his family; but as we passed, the island was completely leveled.

One of the radiomen told me that during the storm, two USCG cutters suffered severe damage while anchored in Gravesend Bay, New York. The radiomen also told me one merchant marine radio operator sent an SOS because the crew was ashore and the lines from his ship to the dock were parting.

Upon our arrival in Portland, I was ordered to clean up and head for the resident radio school in New London. It was a fiasco getting there as train tracks were torn up in places and we had to shift from train to bus, and from bus to train.

USCG Air Station Cape May

The air station had four airplanes; the main one was the Hall Boat, a twin-engine biplane and a pure seaplane.

There was nothing spectacular about the radio station at Cape May, call sign NOV. A nice, small radio shack with two positions. The radioman on watch covered four frequencies. A merchant ship reported they had a very sick man and asked to have him airlifted to a hospital. Our plane was freshly painted and still wet, so the commander of the station asked New York CG Air Station to take the call. Later the radio operator on the ship said the plane had landed and took the sick man aboard. Then he quickly advised that the plane had just dived into the ocean. There were no survivors.

Cape May in the wintertime is a miserable place to be, so I requested a transfer to sea duty and was assigned to commission the NEMAHA at the CG Yard in Baltimore. I had to rebuild the radio direction finder and install it in that postage stamp radio room, but it worked great.

USCGC Nemaha

One hundred and twenty-five feet of slow sailing. Upon departing the Yard for Seattle on one engine. The engine motor macs [Motor Machinist Mates] could not start the other engine. When we got it to the West Coast, the macs found that one of the battery leads was not connected to the starter motor.

The trip was very nice, but upon arrival at Panama, most of us had swollen ankles due to too much salt water cleaning up and too much sunshine. We stayed in Panama for two weeks and enjoyed it.

Upon reaching Seattle, we tied up in Lake Union with nothing to do. Headquarters was looking for a radioman for assignment to the CGC SHAWNEE, so I put in for it and was transferred to Humboldt Bay, California. Man, the sand fleas in that town were eating me alive, so I requested a transfer again and was sent back to Seattle to join the CGC HAIDA at Juneau, Alaska.

USCGC Haida

Our main duty was to visit all the Indian villages and have the doctors attend to any illnesses and inoculate the children. The governor and a few judges would make a tour of all Alaskan cities; the judges would hold court at each stop, and in that way we visited every town and city in Alaska. Chasing fish pirates was another duty.

A few miles south of Ketchikan, the captain had us pull up a few miles of one of the legal fisherman's fish line to check what types of fish he had. The owner of the fish line showed up and read the riot act to the captain. Pirating was prevalent; the companies built fish weirs and their boats would unload their salmon in them. They hired college students to guard the weirs, but the pirates would overpower the guards and empty them, which they sold to the company they stole the fish from.

As the only large cruising cutter in Alaska, we drew the Bering Sea Patrol. When we entered the Bering Sea, I was assigned the job of installing two crystals in every schoolteacher's radio, from Dutch Harbor to Attu.

This was a nice job. The small boat would put me ashore and then lay to while I installed the crystals and explained that if any Japanese vessels were sighted, they were to call Dutch Harbor and report the occurrence.

This was well before Pearl Harbor. The government was building a secret airfield in the Aleutians at this time and it paid off well after the war began.

During this trip the Captain put a notice on the radio room bulletin board that we were not to operate any transmitter for a designated three hours in the afternoon when he was listening to news on his short wave receiver. Ketchikan Radio called us every 15 minutes; we logged the calls but did not answer. I heard later that the captain was severely reprimanded for this.

This guy was a character. One day in the Gulf of Alaska, he gave orders to shut down the ship engines and put two pulling boats in the water. He had us towing the ship for some four hours. We had blisters on top of blisters from that fiasco.

One of his tricks was to put two .45 caliber automatics in salt water and have the Gunners Mates take them out, shake them once and try to fire them. It was a miracle no one was hurt.

At Unalaska, a strong storm came upon us. Heaving against the dock put some large dents into the starboard side. The captain was also reprimanded for not going to anchor.

The third reprimand was received after this trip for not going to Seattle to have the ship fumigated. The cockroaches had taken over the ship and loved to chew on transformer windings.

Scotch Cap Lighthouse*

After this patrol, I was looking forward to arriving in Seattle to see my kid brother who was a radioman on the USS BAGLEY, a tin can that was at Pearl Harbor when the attack occurred. But this never came to pass because when we went through the Unimak Straits, I was given a rifle (30.06) with 1000 rounds, a Colt .45 automatic with 1000 rounds, and code books, and was put ashore on Unimak Island to become a lighthouse keeper and radio operator. The building was new and supposed to be earthquake- and storm-proof.

I had a wonderful time, eating proper food and getting plenty of exercise. My weight went from 210 lbs. down to a tough 150.

Ships going to Japan would come through the pass on a great circle route and I would chat with them on the radio. The weather changed so fast in the pass that I requested permission to broadcast weather reports. The weather bureau sent an examination and a book with all the answers; I received a weatherman's license with the stipulation that when I left the island, I was to return it.

To build up our larder, we hunted caribou--the island was crowded with them. But the bad part was the darn bears. We had to go armed at all times and used the guns to scare them off. My 4 a.m. weather broadcast was scary because I had to walk about 50 yards to the thermometers. As I stepped outside, I would fire one or two rounds into the air to get the bears moving away.

My bedroom was on the ground floor. One night I woke up to an odd sound and saw a huge brown bear looking at me through the window.

There were four or five wrecks below the station. Ships in bad weather steered for us using their direction finders on our beacon frequency, but with the wind blowing offshore up to 100 knots and snowing like mad, they would run ashore because they could not see our light or hear the foghorn.

Fishing--now that was an art. My friend Kelley and I would go out in our dory with the small outboard engine when there were no seas running. Kelley would jig a line or put out a small trotline; we would have a few nice fish in short order. The large hair seals would jump up and look in the boat, but I would scare them off with my .45. The minute wind came up and started making waves; we would head back to our cove. If any wind was blowing on shore, getting a boat out of the water was tricky, as the swells near the beach would be over five feet.

A small merchant vessel came by monthly and delivered food and mail. Ira Crowder was a radio operator on this ship and we became good friends. He visited my folks once or twice in Brooklyn whenever he was in that area.

Otto and I were out to get our monthly caribou. He had a small 30.30 rifle and I had my 30.06 with dum-dum military ammo. I took the point off for better penetration. A few hundred yards from us was a nice gathering of bears, four or five of them. Otto was taking movies with his 8mm camera and asked me to fire a round into the air, which I did. All but one of the bears ran away, but the largest headed straight for us.

Otto put a round in the air, but he just came on, faster and faster, as we began shooting him. I put at least nine in him and Otto five or six before the bear fell about 50 feet away. That was scary.

The mail boat showed up one day in their one-lunger boat. With onshore winds and fairly heavy swells running, they put out a stern anchor as they approached the beach, but it did not hold and they broached sideways. Men, mail, food, all went into the surf. The chief mate was in charge of the boat and was so darn mad he took an axe and stove the boat in so they couldn't take it back to the ship.

The next morning the weather was calm. I took the merchant crew and rowed them out to where a pulling boat from the ship met us to transfer the crew. I told the chief mate that the only safe passage into the inlet was with a dory; thereafter, every time the mail boat came, I had my own adventure when I took the smallest dory and threaded my way through the swells to the pulling boat and transferred the cargo consigned to us. The trick was getting safely back to shore.

Kelley would be at the water's edge with a cable and a triple hook attached, and Otto would have the donkey engine running in the boathouse. Then, standing up facing the beach, I worked my way to just outside the last rolling wave, usually about five feet, crest to trough, timed the next wave, and gave the oar a good push. The dory would surfboard onto the beach where Kelley would throw the hook into the bow, and Otto would pull the dory up the beach before the backwater from the wave took it. Worked great--and we used this system once a month. I sure did like that small dory.

On the other side of the island there was another lighthouse. One morning they called on the radio and said they had a man there with a case of severe blood poisoning. Our mail ship was in Seattle and a relief vessel was about 15 hours past us. I called the ship but the captain refused to come back to Cape Sarichef and pick up the sick man. I sent an urgent message to the Navy and they refused to help, even though they had plenty of small boats and it was only about 75 miles from their base.

In desperation I contacted the Mayor of Unalaska (an ex-USCG radioman) and explained the problem. The sick man was well known to the Mayor, and he sent a fishing boat to pick him up. This was on the third day from the first call from the sick man--he died on the way back to Unalaska and was buried there on the island.

Discharged

Sixteen months at Scotch Cap and the CGC CYANE picked me up and brought me to Ketchikan. Upon arriving at the district office with my uniform at the waist swung half the way around me, with a big pin to hold it there, I was sure a sad sight. The radio officer was an old friend, now a full LIEUTENANT, who wanted me to reenlist, make me a chief, then put me on Guard Island. That was one of the intercept stations, but I declined and bought some civvies, took my discharge and all that extra lighthouse keeper pay and headed home for good old Brooklyn, NY, USA.

Reenlisted

After a few months as a civilian, I went to the recruiting station at the Battery. My big surprise was the same recruiter who had enlisted me for three years. The first words out of his mouth was, "Hi, Sallet. Where have you been? How are you?" What a memory this guy had. I reenlisted as RM1c and was sent to CG Radio Station, NMY, on the oceanfront across from the naval station. The old wood building was really great, with a large radio room, two operator positions, two teletypes to the district office, and a landline circuit with sounders up and down the coast.

Submarines

German submarines were having a field day knocking off our merchant ships just offshore. The city refused at first to dim the shore lights. German subs could see our ships illuminated with the lights of the city in the background--they were torpedoing two or three ships every night. The maximum SOS calls received in an eight-hour watch was ten.

One noon we were sitting on the radio building porch that faced the sea and saw about a mile offshore a German submarine on the surface heading towards Coney Island. We notified the navy base at Floyd Bennett Field and about an hour later one of their OS2U seaplanes with two depth charges under the wing passed over our station about 100 feet and headed towards Coney Island. Of course, they never saw anything.

A few days later a USCG 125-footer reported they had a submarine on the bottom and could not drop depth charges at the depth the sub was and get safely away at their slow speed. Eventually a plane showed up and dropped a few depth charges right on both sides of the New York pilot boat.

One night a call from a tugboat with a tow off Atlantic City was received, saying there was a large log floating near him. A few minutes later he called again and said the log was a submarine on the surface.

These were busy days. One evening two ships were torpedoed off the New Jersey coast; while this was going on, someone tuned up his transmitter. WSL commercial radio station told him to be quiet, there were distress situations going on, but the operator said, "That's OK, I'm next to put out an SOS."

Three of us had motorcycles. Mine was a beautiful small Indian. After daybreak we would run up the beach scavenging for anything that had washed up from torpedoed ships. Some of the life rafts were canvas over balsa wood from which we could make nice airplane and ship models. We found a bottle with a note in it from a British ship that had been torpedoed and forwarded it to New York. They sent it on to CG Headquarters in Washington.

USS Samuel Chase

As usual, all good things come to an end and a few of us were transferred to the USS SAMUEL CHASE (APA-56).

The ship was built at Pascagoula, Miss., one of three identical ships. The CHASE was an amphibious troop transport capable of carrying 1500 troops and had gigantic cargo holds for tanks. She carried 34 Higgins boats of all types. The radio room was quite small and had only two operating positions. The crew was mixed Navy and Coast Guard, but mostly Coast Guard. The Captain and most of the officers were also Coast Guard.

Finally ready for trials, we got underway for Little Creek, Virginia. Traveling in a small convoy in dense fog was a hazard--you had to live it to know how bad it was. And this was before radar.

The engine room broke down just inside Cape May and it took a day to get them running again. Then through the Chesapeake and Delaware Canal and we broke down again. This time it took three days to get them running.

After many months of drills and training at Little Creek, we were on our way to northern Europe. Our first stop was Halifax, Canada to join up with a large convoy crossing to Scotland. The enemy subs were out there en masse. Once we were clear of land and had no air cover, they were on us. One or two of the ships had Spitfire fighter planes with no wheels, and when we had to use them, they were catapulted off the ship but could not return. The pilot bailed out near an escort vessel and was picked up.

Scotland in the winter was real tough; the pea coat could not keep out the cold. Lots of training up the Clyde River, then we headed south towards the Mediterranean escorted by British destroyers. I'll be honest: I never felt safe with their tin cans as our screen. The subs picked them off like they were clay ducks.

Chief Radioman Test

The examination for Chief Radioman was quite comical. Six of us were at a round table with a LIEUTENANT who was to ask us questions. The Gunners Mate gave him such a hard time he didn't have time to get to all of us. I know he never asked me one question, but all of us were given the rating. A year later a nice piece of paper from USCG Hq. arrived rating me a Chief Radioman [Permanent].

Invasion

When we were off Oran, a lone low-wing seaplane approached. It could not have been doing 100 mph. It was clearly an enemy plane, but no one fired on it; he passed over the convoy, did a 180 and approached again, dropping one bomb, hitting the THOMAS STONE on the stern and put her completely out of action. The captain was having fits because no one fired on the intruder. He loaded the troops into Higgins boats, gave them plenty of extra fuel and food, and sent them on to the landing point.

The remainder of the trip was uneventful until we arrived at our invasion point. The President then broadcast to all French forces in North Africa informing them of the pending invasion and asked them to signal their surrender by pointing their searchlights toward the sky. The British cruisers and tin cans opened fire on the beach when no searchlights were seen.

Our invasion point was about 40 miles east of Algiers. Whoever picked the site should have been shot. The beach was a horror to the small boats, with eight to ten foot swells onto a very sharp gradient beach. Two Navy amphibious ships lost all their boats and could not get their heavy equipment ashore.

That night all hell broke loose. German JU-88s came in with torpedoes; one passed under our anchor chain and hit a Navy transport astern of us and took out her rudder and screws. We shot down two JU-88s after they dropped their torpedoes, banked, and came down our starboard side about 100 feet away. Both of the aircraft crashed on the beach.

Then came the bombers; one of them put a bomb down the stack of the ship astern of us who had previously had her stern torpedoed.

At the invasion port, most of the ships had lost all or nearly all of their landing craft. After we unloaded our cargo, losing only four Higgins boats, we proceeded to help unload other ships. On the third day we departed for Algiers. One more trip to Scotland and back to Algiers, then we headed for the amphibious base at Little Creek.

There we replaced the worthless quad mount 1.1 guns with dual 40mm guns; the APA-56 number was changed to APA-26. Then it was back to Oran in convoy where we tied up at the far end of the harbor at a place called Ain Taia. Our next move was to Algiers to await another invasion. I received printed orders here to go to Bizerte and check up on all the TBY radios to be used for the upcoming invasion.

I proceeded to Algiers airfield to bum a ride and ended up on an R4D whose cargo was three aircraft engines and four nurses. The pilot landed on a dirt road just outside Bizerte and said, "Chief, time for you to get off and hitch a ride into town." I got a lift on an Army truck with a batch of GIs. They had bottles of liquor and I foolishly took a few drinks on an empty stomach.

It was now dark and the truck driver told me to get off and walk down the road to the naval base, and be careful of the Germans who had put down a few paratroopers to raise hell in the area. I was accosted by GIs with rifles pointed at me and had to show my papers before they let me go. I was pretty sick by the time I arrived at the naval base, so they put me in hospital to sleep it off.

The next morning I was notified that the LST group I was looking for was anchored and tied up at a cape nearby. I bummed a ride and reported on board the LST of the squadron commander. It appears the tin can that brought the radios to the group had them on deck and did not cover them. They were all salt-saturated and absolutely worthless. I told the Chief he could dump them in the ocean and that I would try to get a new batch when I returned to the CHASE.

I was due back to the ship at noon the next day. There was a Navy plane belonging to an admiral on the far end of the field that was going back to Algiers. A Navy LIEUTENANT was checking over a nice-looking D18 twin-engine plane and said I could ride with him. The interior had leather seats and plush, fancy upholstery. The ride back was wonderful--a lot better than the R4D.

Approaching Algiers at about 1500 feet and in a left bank, there was a very large explosion in the railroad yards just off to one side of us. Saboteurs were at work, I was told. Ah well, I arrived back on board at 1130 and just made it as they secured the ship for getting underway.

Invasion of Sicily

The convoy stayed close inshore as all ships streamed paravanes. The German E-boats would sow mines every evening along the coast. The weather was excellent the first day, not much wind or sea swells, but the seas built up and the wind was howling on the second day. Soldiers in those flat-bottom invasion craft caught hell.

Arriving off Gela, all was quiet until the cruisers and monitors opened up to soften the beaches. We had a lot of firepower from cruisers and two British monitors. The monitors had awesome firepower. One had only one monstrous gun, and the other had two guns.

The invasion force had a hard time getting their heavy equipment ashore. The troops were pretty well pinned down on the beach. On the second day, the construction battalion men cut the sides off some of the larger landing craft and put them on the broad side to the beach--then we could get the heavy equipment ashore.

The following afternoon, my radio team on the beach working for the Beachmaster requested more batteries for the radios. I took two of my men and headed for the beach in a Higgins boat. About 50 yards from shore, we heard the ships firing, and right through all the anchored ships skimming just 50 feet above the water, came two ME-109s, who dropped a string of small bombs on the beach and headed back inland. The comical part of this was the Higgins boats alongside us had a jeep on board and four GIs were sitting on top of it. The bow man had already disconnected the bow ramp and was holding it up manually when the fighters came over. He ducked and let go of the bow ramp; the boat flooded and sank with those GIs still sitting on top of the jeep. They had to swim to shore.

I knew where my men were and we headed for them, but some soldiers started screaming at us to stand still and that we were in a minefield (or at least an uncleared area). They led us out using their mine detection equipment.

The U.S. cruisers had no spotters ashore and tried to use their biplanes to spot their fall of shells. As the biplanes approached the beach, the enemy would take them right out--the pilot and observer would come down in parachutes. All four of the cruiser planes were lost this way.

USS Dickman

One of the many ships with us was the USS DICKMAN, a Coast Guard-manned amphibious transport.

Picture this: Bright sun shining, calm sea, and everything is quiet, when a small German plane showed up about 4000 feet and dove on the DICKMAN. No one shot at it, but everyone was watching. The German didn't drop anything and pulled up, crossed the DICKMAN about 600 feet and went upstairs. Circling around, he did the same thing again, but apparently could not discharge his bombs. He was on his way home when the DICKMAN and a few other ships opened fire with 40mm and 20mm.

We returned to Algiers and loaded up on supplies and troops and back to Gela. Soon after returning to Algiers we got orders to proceed to Scotland. On the way to Gibraltar, we lost two British destroyers to submarines. As we approached Gibraltar, one of the ship's cooks jumped over the side. Guess he couldn't take anymore.

After rounding the Pillars of Hercules, we picked up one "Kaiser Coffin" (small aircraft carrier built by Kaiser Shipbuilding) at Gibraltar. About 10 PM there was a huge explosion astern of us and a large fireball climbed toward the sky. The carrier caught one amidships, blew apart and sank immediately. The rescue vessel reported there were no survivors.

From Scotland we returned to Algiers, bringing supplies and troops to Gela, then we proceeded to Little Creek. Then it was back to the Ed for the invasion of Salerno where we were plagued by German radio-controlled bombs. The cruiser BROOKLYN had near misses, but they did locate the frequency and thereafter there were no problems with the bombs.

After Salerno we went back to Little Creek and I went to hospital. Apparently they discharged me from the CHASE and all, or almost all, my belongings were transferred to me in hospital. Someone who surely was not a decent shipmate stole three watercolor paintings made for me by the Chief Boatswains Mate, who was a well-known artist.

Anti-spy Monitoring

Upon release from hospital, I reported to the Coast Guard anti-spy unit on Long Island at the completion of my sick leave. This unit was located at Southampton, consisting of one large room over a garage where the operators would scan for spy stations in Europe and on Long Island. Lists came from Washington daily telling us what radio calls they would use and the frequencies. We had to be able to recognize the "fist" and individual characteristics of the sound each small transmitter made of the spy he was tracking. Out in the "boonies" we had three small one-room buildings which used battery-operated receivers to copy the spy station messages.

I hated the work and put in for sea duty. Another Chief Radioman there liked the duty, and I didn't think I was needed.

USS General M C Megs

The USS GENERAL M C MEIGS was not in commission when I reported aboard. She was a large, high-speed troop transport who would normally cruise in excess of 25 knots. Pre-commissioning was in Long Island Sound where the water was like glass. Two of my third class operators were so seasick they stood watch with buckets. We had to put them on the beach.

The ship was commissioned near Hartford, Conn. We had to buy white uniforms and shoes that we never had any use for thereafter.

The MEIGS could carry 5000 troops. Our first run was from New York to Italy via Rio de Janeiro where we picked up native troops, and I mean native. They must have scoured the jungle for these guys and put uniforms on them with Uncle Sam paying their salaries. They would spend all evening having snake dances on deck.

From Naples we went back to New York carrying USO people, walking wounded, and German prisoners.

On the Beach

After the second trip south I went to the hospital in Boston for hernia surgery. While on sick leave, I received a telegram to report as soon as possible to Norfolk for assignment. I knew what that meant, so I stopped in at CG Headquarters in Washington and talked with a Lieutenant in the communications department. I told him I was not ready for sea duty and requested a nice shore job at an air station. While on the USS CHASE I put in for flight training three times, and Hq. approved each time, but the captain would not let me go.

The LIEUTENANT wrote orders transferring me to the air station at Port Angeles, Washington. He told me to report to Norfolk with my new orders. Upon arriving in Norfolk they wanted me to take a draft of men to the west coast for duty on board a PC out there. I showed them my new orders and they were really PO'd but gave me transportation to Washington.

When I arrived, the communications officer, a LCDR and an old buddy of mine from the Alaska office, put pressure on me to go to the radio station at Aberdeen, Washington, and I went. The station was manned mostly with SPAR* radio operators, and they were very good. They took over the Chief's quarters and I bunked in with the male operators.

Our 500 KC's transmitter was in a cage 20 feet long and 10 feet high and was very powerful. At night the town would shut off all streetlights, but whenever the main transmitter was keyed, the streetlights would go on and off with the keying. There was a lot of fishing and claming on the beach.

After a while I was transferred to the main radio station 30 miles outside of Seattle, another station operated by the Spars. They ran the station so well I had very little to do there. I started flying at a small airfield down the road near Bellingham. Lots of fun in a 65-hp J3 aircraft; but the fun came to an abrupt end.

USCGC Mendota

I was ordered to Baltimore to commission the USCGC MENDOTA. We moved up to Boston and were outfitted as a weather ship, the worst thing that could have happened to us. Weather stations in the North Atlantic, winter or summer, are hell. We had a 200 mile grid, and any time we went from the center, we had to changes the wheels on the beacon keyer. Seas run usually 50 feet crest to trough, and with engines off, we would roll so bad the boats on the camelbacks would fill with water, and the weight would tear out the bottoms. After 30 days on station, we went into Argentia, Newfoundland, for refit, refuel, food, and so forth, then back to another station. We did this for five months and then went back to Boston for 25 days.

That was when I had had enough. I put in for shore duty and was assigned to the communication trucks at Moriches radio station, waiting for my discharge. The district communications officer wanted me to re-up and keep me in the New York office, but all I could see was more weather patrol as almost all the Chiefs on the Mendota went elsewhere or took discharges. I was newly married and did not want anymore sea duty.

Postscript

Two of my children served in the Coast Guard; my daughter and one of my sons. Upon their discharge, they went to college on the GI Bill and are doing fine in the world now.

 

Return to the Coast Guard Stories

 

INTERNAL LINKS TO OTHER SECTIONS OF JACK'S JOINT

COAST GUARD STORIES    LIBRARY SHELVES   THE COMPLETE LIBRARY   THE PERMANENT NUMERICAL LISTINGS

COAST GUARD NEWS AND EVENTS    OTHER COAST GUARD STUFF    COAST GUARD NEWSLETTERS    FRONT PAGE

BOOK AND VIDEO REVIEWS    LIT LAMPS OF THE WORLD   ANCIENT MARINERS AND FORGOTTEN SOLDIERS