Mad Man Muntz!

by George Manning


The Coast Guard has had it's share of characters in its 208 years. This short tale is about one of them and why the left sleeve of his dress blues weighed a little less.

Over the span of my career as an RM in the USCG, there were many humorous stories and events that took place. Probably the one that stands out most took place in the early 50's while serving as an RM2 aboard the CGC HUMBOLDT.

Dan Mahoney, RM3, was transferred to the HUMBOLDT shortly after I reported aboard. Dan had been busted from RM2 and his reputation had preceded him, for he was also known as "Mad Man Muntz." Dan had picked up this appellation from the famous salesman who aired crazy TV promotions that made him a millionaire.

After relieving Dan on 500 kcs, you knew why he had picked up this nickname, for he spent most of his time on watch chatting with merchant ships, and he developed his own style of promotion. We never knew what kind of a snake would bite you after relieving him of the watch.

Dan told of an incident that took place which resulted in being busted one grade. It took place at his previous duty station, Coast Guard Radio Boston, NMF, and occurred during the early morning hours when little radio activity takes place. The quietness of the radio room was broken by the loudspeaker on 2670 kcs, blaring a male voice in broken English with a heavy Portuguese accent. From the tone of his voice, it was apparent he was excited as he spoke, "This is the Fishing Vessel Louisa sinking. Please send help." Dan responded with the many questions that were required by the Search & Rescue Center. Obtaining this information was both trying and time-consuming, as very often the vessel didn't have their position in latitude and longitude.

Dan could sense that the captain of the fishing vessel was becoming impatient and frantic when answering these questions. After obtaining all the information required for the distress report, he informed the captain to "standby." Less than a minute later, Dan heard the captain's voice screaming, "the water is rising over the engine room deck plates and coming in fast. What should I do!"

In a matter-of-fact way Dan replied, "Repeat after me. Our Father who art in heaven, hallowed by thy name."

The captain was not amused.


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