FAREWELL TO THE TWENTIETH CENTURY

OPINION.....

 

By the time this issue (The Old Salt's Journal) gets in your hands the Twentieth Century will be history. Most of us lived our lives in this century and will only see the onset of this new Millenium and new century.

Our Coast Guard has its origins in the eighteenth century but only since 1914 as we know it. It is an amalgamation of the Revenue Marine and the Life Savings Service enlarged in 1939 by the addition of the Lighthouse Service and lastly in 1947 of the Bureau of Marine Inspection.

It took many years, several wars, and actually into the seventies and eighties to truly almagamate the service. Cross training and cross assignments have thrown the terms "Sand Pepe," "Wickie," and White Cuttermen" into disuse.

It is obvious why the term "Wickie" disappeared, there remains only one token manned lighthouse. The rest are unmanned or abandoned and live only in romanticism. The lightships, whose beacon's have long since been extinguished are at best historical sites and at worst gone to the knockers.

Gone is the hostility between ship and shore stations. If it still exists in pockets it isn't as openly hostile. The term "White Cutterman" is no longer a term of derision at such places as the Merrimac River Station.

But also gone but not forgotten are the nautical uniforms the service has worn in it's different metamorphoses since inception. This is sad in a way as our Coast Guard has a rich seafarer's tradition.

The new millenium brings us a Coast Guard that is oriented more to law enforcement than to search and rescue. The trend away from the tradition close liaison with the U.S. Navy has been reversed.

What will the new millenium and the new century bring? It remains to be seen. Let us will join together to support our 21st Century Coast Guard in this new millenium yet still guard our traditions and lore of the past.

Remember -- We are a proud lot -- A "Can Do" organization that is always ready -- Semper Paratus.

 

12/15/99

Jack

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