William. R. Bentler
Wm. R. Bentler CHBOSN USCG (RET) joined the Coast Guard in 1939 and served a tour of duty aboard the USCG 165' Cutter Daphne in 1941. She was doing ASW and search and rescue off the central California coast. He took the enlisted crew to Wilmington, Calif. where they manned the newly built FS-156. He relates the following events in a recent letter to Jerome P. Friedman who in turn sent it to Jack's Joint.
"We sailed from there in a small convoy to Funafuti in the Ellice Atoll Group. We sailed from there in a small convoy headed for Guadalcanal.
When only a couple of hours out. we broke a wheel rope. I suggested to the captain that we could strip some wire off of the jumbo boom and reeve a new wheel rope. He declined, and we headed back to Funafuti.
We called the Navy several times for a pilot to take us inside the atoll but they never sent one. Since we had the relieving tackles rigged, we went in without the pilot and anchored in the same place the pilot had originally anchored us.
The following morning the China Clipper flying boat, which I am sure you know, was under contract to the Navy, came in and landed. She was known as the "Cannon Ball," and primarily carried only ranking officers and U.S. mail. On her departure she had four enlisted men sitting up on mail sacks in the tail of the plane.
took off normally, and gained a few hundred feet of altitude when her starboard
engine failed. She came down in a steep starboard list and hit the mast-head
light standard atop of the king post. She went in over our bow. Fortunately, we
had the launch in the
were finally released to sail and headed to Guadalcanal for a short stop-over
and on to Milne Bay, New Guinea. From there our work was
We eventually made it to the Philippines with stops at Leyte, Lingayen Gulf, and Subic Bay. We delivered a tank farm to Subic.
In a convoy back to Leyte, our starboard engine failed and we were falling behind. The convoy commander ordered a Navy LST to give us a towline. With their help and by us running our port engine we were keeping up. Unfortunately the Navy people had not put chaffing-gear on the towline, so it broke at their taff-rail and promptly wound up in our port screw. We had made a diving rig out of a gas mask and with air from the engine room I went-down and cut the line out of the screw. No small task, I will tell you. We were then able to make it in to Leyte.
Then it was back to New Guinea and a milk run along the coast. Thence to the Philippines once again. We were in Manila when the war ended.
was transferred to the FS-203 and made a trip all around the Philippines. On our
return to Manila the
Warrant Officer Bentler put in his full time in the Coast Guard and retired to
the city of Stockton, Calif. where he went to work as Athletic Equipment Man and
Business Manager at the University of Pacific, Stockton, Calif. He is now fully
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