The Internet Edition of
The Old Salt's Journal
Volume II - No. 2 Spring 1999
The Coast Guard Sea Veterans of America Quarterly Newsletter
ADMIRAL LOY AND MCPOCG PATTON JOIN THE SEAVETS
IN THIS ISSUE:
The Military Wife
The Unpaid Half Is Heard
World War II - False Armistice
The Red Headed Gooney Bird
The Grand Melee of Yokosuka
The 1956 Summer "Cruise"
Coast Guard Heroes to You and Me
And Much Much More
President Larry Stefanovich, The Officers and Board Members welcome the Commandant and the Eighth Master Chief of the Coast Guard into the Coast Guard Sea Veteran's of America.
Welcome Aboard and may our relationship be a long and a mutually prosperous one.
Communications from the MCPOCG to the membership will be found inside this issue - ED
Disclaimer: Opinions expressed herein are those of the editor, columnists, or contributors and are not necessarily those of the U.S. Coast Guard or the Coast Guard Sea Veterans of America
LETTER FROM THE PRESIDENT
Hello Fellow "GUARDIANS OF THE TRADITION"
The long winter is over and it is time for some of us to start planning to attend the various reunions. Our membership is increasing but could always be better.
A big belated welcome to the Commandant Admiral James Loy and MCPOCG Vince Patton. It's nice to have you both aboard. We also have a Spar who has renewed as a Life member. Muriel "Myke" Olsen. Thanks Myke.
I have committed the Seavets to help the USCG recruiting effort. The recruiters are spread mighty thin, and areas out of the mainstream do not have access to recruiting pamphlets at Post Offices and schools. If anyone would the like to help get this info into these area please contact me and I will forward materials to you.
We are starting to compile an email roster of all members for use by members only. If you think we don't have yours please send it to Ken Long or myself at LASUSHL@webtv.net.
This Issue has the start of an input column from MCPOCG Vince Patton. If you like it please let us know and we will forward your thoughts to him.
Semper Paratus and Help Guard the Traditions, Your president
LETTER FROM THE MCPOCG
I appreciate the opportunity to mention a few things in this newsletter. First of all I want to let you all know how happy and excited I am to become affiliated with the Coast Guard Sea Veterans of America. As the nation's oldest continuous seagoing service, we have a lot to be proud of looking back on our history, heritage and traditions.
When I assumed the role as the Master Chief Petty Officer of the Coast Guard just about a year ago, my number one focus is to bring out the passion of our service to all members, whether they be active, reserve, retired,civilian, auxiliarist, veterans or family members. Whether you've served for four or forty years, your time in the Coast Guard, the good, the bad and of course the ugly, are memorable events that will remain with you for a lifetime. The experiences that you've learned in your Coast Guard tenure undoubtedly helped you become much stronger in your personal character. The comraderie alone is immeasurably valuable that gives us the the distinction of being associated with an organization, who's long legacy of saving of life and property at sea, makes us proud to be called a "Coast Guardsman."
This is the passion that I want to display and exhibit during my tenure as the Eighth Master Chief Petty Officer of the Coast Guard.
I am proud to be a member of the SeaVets, and look forward to a meaningful and productive dialogue with you. My email's always open. I typically receieve between 150-200 emails a day from all over the Coast Guard, as well as from retirees, vets, and friends of the Coast Guard. I personally answer them all, although sometimes it takes a few days, depending on my travel and workload schedules. I do encourage you to send me your thoughts and ideas, and of course your sea stories, anytime.
Best wishes and Semper Paratus!
MCPOCG Vince Patton
The Master Chief Petty Officer of the Coast Guard
2100 Second St. MCPOCG Vincent W. Patton, III
SW, Room 2216
Washington, DC 20593-0001
PHNR: (202) 267-2397
FAX: (202) 267-4487
Web site: http://www.uscg.mil/hq/mcpocg
THE STRAIGHT SKINNY
THE MILITARY WIFE
From an Army Web Page
The good Lord was creating a model for military wives and was into His sixth day of overtime when an angel appeared. She said, 'Lord, you seem to be having a lot of trouble with this one. What's the matter with the standard model?'
The Lord replied, 'Have you seen the specs on this order? She has to be completely independent, possess the qualities of both father and mother, be a perfect hostess to four or forty with an hour's notice, run on black coffee, handle every emergency imaginable without a manual, be able to carry on cheerfully, even if she's pregnant and has the flu, and she must be willing to move 10 times in 17 years. And oh, yes, she must have six pairs of hands."
The angel shook her head. "Six pairs of hands? No way."
The Lord continued, 'Don't worry, we will make other military wives to help her. And we will give her an unusually strong heart so it can swell with pride in her husband's achievements, sustain the pain of separations, beat soundly when it's over-worked and tired, and be large enough to say, 'I understand,' when she doesn't, and say 'I love you,' regardless."
The angel circled the model of the military wife, looked at it closely and sighed, 'It looks fine, but it's too soft."
'She might look soft,' replied the Lord, 'but she has the strength of a lion.
You would not believe what she can endure.'
Finally, the angel bent over and ran her finger across the cheek of the Lord's creation. 'There's a leak," she announced. 'Something is wrong with the construction. I am not surprised that it has cracked. You are trying to put too much into this model."
The Lord appeared offended at the angel's lack of confidence. "What you see is not a leak,' he said. "It's a tear.'
"A tear? What is it there for?' asked the angel.
The Lord replied, 'It's for joy, sadness, pain, disappointment, loneliness, pride, and a dedication to all the values that she and her husband hold dear."
'You are a genius!' exclaimed the angel.
The Lord looked puzzled and replied, 'I didn't put it there."
THE UNPAID HALF IS HEARD
by Beverly Padgett
I've been given the honor of writing the first distaff article for the OSJ.I hope I can do it justice. Please let me introduce myself. My name is Beverly Padgett, and my husband, Bobby, is a member of the Board of Directors of the CGSVA. He retired as a Master Chief Radioman in 1984, after 26 years of service to his country.
So, why am I not a typical Coast Guard wife? I was married to Bobby for only the last six years of his 26 year career. Most Coast Guard wives know what it's like to move somewhere new; make new friends; get children started in new schools and, perhaps, look for new jobs. Once
they get settled in, and are comfortable in their new surroundings, nvariably their husbands will come home one night and say, "I've got orders." And the whole thing starts over again.
They must learn not to put their roots down too deep wherever they are; not to let those friendships become too close. Often all the arrangements for packing and moving must be left up to the wives, for their husbands are at sea again.
It's a difficult life, and each family member must learn to be flexible; try to smile when they hear those "I've got orders" words again; break it to the children and start packing.
Now, you can see why I am not the typical Coast Guard wife. I had only one move with which to contend after I married Bobby. I had lived and worked in the Norfolk/Portsmouth area of Virginia since I was 18 years old - 26 years. My roots went very deep; my friendships were very close to my heart. I worked for the newspapers in Norfolk, starting at age 18, and it was the only job I ever had.
Was it easier or more difficult for me to say good-bye to Virginia, a state I still miss and love, to my dear friends, and to my career? I can't answer that. It was time for Bobby to transfer, so that decision was made for me, but with my wholehearted approval. Staying in Virginia without Bobby held no appeal to me whatsoever.
I will end this with a funny little story. I remember thinking, when Bobby and I were first married in 1978, that the day would come when we would have to leave. So, I ran through my mind all the beautiful places in the United States where our Coast Guard is stationed, visualizing us, perhaps, on the Island of Hawaii, or Alaska with its magnificent scenery. Can you just imagine how excited I was when Bobby told me we were going to the Ninth CG District Office in Cleveland, Ohio?
I've enjoyed writing this little article, and I sure hope we see more of this type article in the future.
God bless and take care of all of you.
SAILING ORDERS AND RENDEZVOUS
This listing of reunions is very space consuming. In most cases this is a duplication of information found in several other sources. From now on the reunion will be listed in the Old Salt's Journal without amplifying detail. If you are unable to get amplifying information on it, email the editor at firstname.lastname@example.org or request the information by mail.
CGC MACKINAW - August 12-14, 1999 - Cheboygan, MI. WESTERN GREAT LAKES - Annual Reunion - Sept 11, 1999 - Manitowoc, WI
CGC SPENCER - September 24-27 - Lisle/Naperville, IL
ALL LIGHTSHIP REUNION - August 20-22 - Quincy, MA
BERING SEA PATROL - Alaska Veterans Assn: 14 to 17 September - Reno, NV.
USCGC COVINGTON (PF-56) Sept 9-11-Covington, KY
USS/USCGC LANSING: 21-24 October at New Orleans.
WW II LORAN & ALL COASTIES: There will be a reunion in South Dakota this year, basically for WW II Loran personnel, but all Coasties are invited to attend.
USS RAMSDEN: 30 Sept to 3 October at Springfield, MO USCGC WACHUSETT: 24-26 September in Seattle
R. O. N.
Jerold L. (Jerry) Wanek
During my hitch at CGAS Brooklyn I was assigned to a routine training flight as a Radioman. If the aircraft was not the duty SAR aircraft we usually flew with a skeleton crew, Pilot, Co-pilot. Mechanic, and Radioman.
As we were beginning to taxi, we received a call from operations to hold up as we were to take six custom agents to Massena, NY to inspect a ship from behind the Iron Curtain that was in the St. Lawrence seaway. It took only about fifteen minutes to kick the SAR gear loose and install seats in the bird. We were flying the workhorse of the CG in those days The HU16E Albatross otherwise known as "The Whispering Goat." I preferred to call it a Pregnant Pelican.
Because the Albatross had a tendency to get pretty hot in the summer we usually stripped to just our skivvies and wore just the Day-Glo Orange flight suit.
Everything else, clothes, billfolds and such was left in the shop. Lt. Bobby Wilks (now a retired Captain) was the pilot in charge.
LT Wilks was well known in Coast Guard aviation circles as one of their top notch pilots. I might add the personal comment, I always enjoyed flying with him.
As we were over the Catskill's about half way to Massena, one of our engines hiccuped. Well now let me tell you, with six civilians on board and being over mountains, with only two fans, if one of them happens to cough out of nowhere,
it gets your undivided attention real fast.
Everything went smooth the rest of the way to Massena, until we were on the final approach. Then that same engine hiccuped again. Lt. Wilks elected to make a fast turn and land on the alternate runway.
After we shut down we radioed Brooklyn and told them the story. With Brooklyn's blessing we decided to stay overnight in Massena, rather than take a chance with that engine over the mountains at night with six passengers.
Brooklyn would send another aircraft the next morning and we would bring our plane back the next day also with just the four of us.
So here we were, no clothes except our flight suits, and no money. (*)RON pay would reimburse us the princely sum of $11.00 when we would finally get it. The manager of the civilian airport vouched for us so we stayed at a real classy local Holiday Inn.
We were allowed to put everything, meals, bar, and rooms on the tab.
The dining room of the motel was very high class. A five or six piece combo playing, dancing, and dining. It was strictly a black cocktail dress and black bow tie atmosphere.
You could have heard a pin drop when we walked in wearing Day-Glo orange flight suits.
Lt. Wilks being the expert on fine wines took care of ordering the proper wine for what we were eating. After dinner we went to the Bar for a couple of drinks (that's all as we had to fly back the next day.)
We got so tired of trying to explain our dress to everyone who asked, we finally began telling the curious that we were astronauts in training.
To make a long story short; we reimbursed LT Wilks our $11.00 (*)RON pay but he picked up the ENTIRE tab out of his own pocket which amounted to a very tidy sum of money even for an officer in those days.
Just a short note to this story -- We never did find out what the engine problem was although we suspected ice in the carburetor.
(*) Remain Over Night.
This story originally appeared in "U.S. Coast Guard Aviation (1916-1996)" by Turner Publications in a much shorter version. Reprinted by permission of the author.
Once upon a time the "Great White Mother" made
THE 1956 SUMMER "CRUISE"
'Twas the 15th of June they gave us the news,
It was time to head out on our long summer cruise.
We said goodbye to our families, we'll be gone for awhile,
Then we steamed down the river in the best showboat style.
We had no calliope but the pipes trilled away,
All hands to quarters, in the uniform of the day.
Then in the shipyard in our whites we did stay,
Tourists all welcome, about ten thousand a day.
Then we steamed for the Soo, in the heart of our nation,
To put on a show for their big celebration.
The big Air-Sea Rescue was efficient and neat,
But the march down the main drag was ten thousand left feet.
Then a surprise Admiral's inspection -- It was not really new,
Just a tried and true formula to shake up the crew.
Four bells to Chicago to escort the big race,
Combined with a reserve cruise, it helped save our face.
At the island we took all the tourists for a ride,
The crew hid their faces, swore they'd jump over the side.
All sailors of showboats are bound for perdition,
But we carried on proudly in the best Coast Guard tradition.
Then on to Detroit and the Port Huron race,
The night of the storm was the final disgrace.
The gas tank slid with a crash in the drink,
And fifty school boys prayed we would sink.
MACKINAW to Sailboat -- We hope you come to no harm,
But we must enter port to get out of the storm.
The heat is terrific -- "One Forty" below,
But we must keep on going to put on our show.
The engines are pounding and the paints lost it's luster,
Instead of "turn to on ships work" -- It's quarters for muster.
To the Canadian backwoods to cruise around awhile,
'Cause the Captain's friends like to travel in style.
Down to Grand Haven for the Great Coast Guard Day,
Big parties for the brass, while the crew earns their pay.
It's parades and formations, muster and drills,
We sweat out the week while the brass gets their thrills.
Another Admiral's inspection to shake up the crew,
One Admiral can do it but they send two.
Four bells and a jingle for the Put-In-Bay side,
The Auxiliary is waiting -- It's their turn to ride.
Then we must go down to Cleveland for a two day celebration,
With the bosses of the Coast Guard, The Lake Carriers Association.
One lousy excursion we've got left to do,
Take a Senator fishing and then we are through.
If we charged for our boat rides I swear on my soul,
We'd soon have the government out of the hole.
We're fighting Coast Guardsmen who suffer these ills,
We've run more excursions than Carter's got pills.
The Marine Corps for fighting as everyone knows,
But it sure takes the Coast Guard to put on the shows.
Originally from The Mackinaw Weekly Rag from "We've Been There" by Esther Stormer - ©1992 - By Permission
THE RED HEADED GOONEY BIRD
by Dave Bailey
During one O.S. November patrol by the Pontchartrain in about 1964, the Fish & Wildlife Service asked the USCG to report sightings of any albatross, or gooney birds, dye marked with yellow heads. While the gooneys were constant companions on station, we saw none that were marked. The XO was really taking the project seriously and was upset that we couldn't report any.So... The crew, weary of cockroach races, decided to make things interesting. We dropped baited hooks out the port hole in the DC shop, counted to 10, and hauled up the birds (heads through the port), painted the heads with RED paint and let them go. The XO was soon reporting red-headed albatross to a very confused F&WS headquarters! By the end of the patrol, he was still "not getting it," so we caught a "whole" bird and sewed it into a bright red sharkskin vest with "WPG-70" written on the breast. Only when the XO saw that gooney hovering over the bridge wing did he realize he had been hoaxed by the crew.
I was a QM in those days, so I had a front row seat for the whole game!
Dave Bailey, CDR, USCG (Ret)
THE GRAND MELEE OF YOKOSUKA
by J.C. Carney ©1999 - All Rights Reserved
As we all know well, the Coast Guard and the Navy have never gotten along exceptionally well. In fact, they have never gotten along at all! Yet for some reason, unbeknownth to me (and probably every one else in both services), we do get along with the Marines. The explanation might well lie with the obvious fact that we both literally hate the bloody Navy. Do I make myself clear: Marines "Yes;" Navy "No."
Well, with that out of the way, perhaps I should get on with the strangest story regarding this ongoing feud that I ever heard. . . . I wouldn't have believed it, but even the USCGC Chautauqua's (WHEC-41) captain, whose name I will not mention to protect the innocent (?) verified it! Here goes. . . .
During the first week of "R and R" at Yokuska, due to a mid-patrol break in 1971 (the ship was pulling double "Victor" weather patrols), a big fight somehow started between the big bad Navy and the innocent (again ?) Coast Guardsmen on "S" Street (I hope I don't have to explain "S" Street). The Navy ganged-up on the little coasties, with the odds in their favor as they were 4 to 1. Needless to say some of the coasties got pretty badly "banged-up." So, the next night right after liberty was announced, the Chautauqua's crew, seeking a little revenge---whilst "enlisting" the aid of some of the bigger crew members--headed for a showdown on "S" Street.
Again there was a confrontation, only this time the retaliation was sweet victory for the Guard. According to Randy Razook [crew member] the coasties---with the help of some Marines, who just "happened" to be handy---placed three swabbies in the hospital in a man-to-man fight with some fairly serious injuries sustained by the Navy. (One swabbie almost lost an eye in the melee). Nonetheless, the damaged coasties returned to the ship sporting bruises, cuts, a few loose teeth, and great big smiles. . . .
The Navy, however, was not going to be outdone. (Their idea of a "fair" fight being odds of roughly 100 to 4 with them having the greater number). And this night was no exception. Somehow, the MP's, SP's, and possibly a number of other cop-types thrown in, got wind of the planned massacre; thereupon sending a paddy wagon to the coastie bar, backing it up with the doors open to receive guests. Soon after about 10 cop-types entered the bar and encircled the drinking coasties and herded them into the waiting "hospitality coach." Randy remembers asking the MP's, "What the hell is going on?" To which came the response for the coasties to look out the window. "When we did," Randy said, "we saw that we were surrounded by the Navy's customary "even" odds of what appeared to be an entire ship's compliment! We would have been annihilated!!!" The coasties, after their rescue, agreed that they owed the military police a good turn after that one. The next day, the Admiral of the 7th Fleet issued orders for all Commands -- almost verbatim --"Do not mess with the Coast Guard." ( I guess he was tired of the Doctor's bill mounting every time their was a fight). . . . This was the last of the confrontations whilst the Chautauqua was inport. The final "Grand Melee" didn't occur until later, as the ship was leaving port. This then, is the rest of the story :
The 255 foot Chautauqua was just down the pier from a large Navy ship affectionately called the "Gator Freighter." Apparently the Naval ship's crew had heard about the fights in town and decided to add their own headaches. A rivalry developed and, according to Glenn Greilich (MST2) of the cutter, it escalated into a full-blown war of tricks and counter tricks. At one point the Navy sent a smoke bomb to one of the BM's, who foolishly opened it in the berthing area. That was one hell of a mess to clear up. There were other "gifts" sent back and forth; too many to mention here. Yet, this had become a full-scale war!
Finally, the cutters day to leave port arrived. The Chautauqua had to slowly back out past the "Gator Freighter," a fact well known to both crews. Glenn stated that, "Looking down the pier we could see them charging up the fire hoses on their leeward side." Adding, "We had prepared for this event, collecting eggs, bottles of paint, and other handy projectiles; thereafter distributing them among [our] crew." He goes on to say, "As we backed past them, they [Navy] started to hose us down. They didn't count on a hail of nasty things coming the other way, as half our crew joined in. Our 300 pound Samoan BM "Big John" personally washed several of their sailors overboard using a 2 1/2 inch fire hose that wet their entire superstructure down."
Meanwhile, the cutter's CO (name I won't mention to protect the innocent [?]), watched this fiasco with interest. It was while he was observing the "farewell" gestures that things really started to get out of hand, as there were paint cans and bottles of paint flying back and forth at an alarming rate with the Navy gray starting to take on a white hue. The cutter didn't get any of the green paint the swabbies supplied. The final "farewell" was about to happen. The Chautauqua's captain noticed that the "Gator" was downwind of the cutter and was soaking wet. A smile played on his lips as he calmly called down to the engine room, ordering the engineer to "Blow Tubes." Huge clouds of black soot belched from the stack as the cutter "made smoke." The heavy soot engulfed the entire "Gator," turning the ship black, sticking to everything that was wet. The cutters crew gave a last wave goodbye. They had, indeed, won the "Grand Melee."
THERE ARE SOME DAY'S NOTHING GOES RIGHT!
By Tom Fleming
I will leave the telling of heroic and daring stories of rescue on the high seas in the pitch of dark and foul weather to my more seasoned comrades. Sometimes it's the little vignettes in life at sea that bring back a flood of memories. Here is my sea story:
It was 1966, I was an eager 18 year old seaman apprentice fresh out of Coast Guard boot camp and excited to have been assigned to the USCGC YOCONA(WAT-168). To make a long story short........... We had just been towed back to our dock at Astoria, Oregon with a broken crankshaft we had suffered on a fisheries patrol.
The Chief Boatswains Mate chose to take advantage of the projected long stay in port, and a break in the weather, to have the hull painted. At the time it was customary to add just a few drops of blue paint pigment to the official "Coast Guard White" the hull was painted. The touch of color made the white appear to gleam in the sun. The Chief's big mistake was assigning this seaman apprentice the chore of mixing the paint. I can't remember how many hours I spent mixing gallon after gallon down in the dark paint locker and passing 'em up to my fellow deck hands who were busy painting with rollers on long poles from rickety floats. In one day all 215 feet of the Yocona's port side got a beautiful new coat from stem to stern.
Was it two drops of blue pigment to five gallons or was it five drops to two gallons?
I can still hear the roar of the Chief's voice as it bellowed down the hatch to the paint locker at the end of the day. The Chief had been playing back gammon leaving the supervision to the First Class who was giving splicing lessons to the other petty officers who left the painting to seamen who couldn't easily see the hue of the paint from their close vantage point. Needless to say the USCGC Yocona was the prettiest baby blue tug in the fleet for a few days in the Summer of 1966 before she was repainted and I was transferred for the next three years to the USCGC Basswood (WLB-388), a black hull buoy tender in Guam.
Ed: We know what happened to the author. What happened to the Chief?
WORLD WAR II -- FALSE ARMISTICE
by The Coast Guard Lady
Bethany Beach, Delaware was a family resort town during the war. Our Coast Guard Radio Station was right on the beach at one end of town. There were two rows of cottages along the shore with a road that was often covered with sand between them. People from the cities came down week-ends or for a week or two vacation.
Several blocks down the beach was a small wooden hotel painted green. It had a restaurant and peach ice cream.... only peach. There were a few year around houses down that way that took in tourists. Farther down there was a dime store and possibly another store or two. There must have been a small grocery store someplace. Over a block ore two was the highway without much traffic due to gas rationing. There was a gas station with a small cafe. Somewhere across the highway was the post office. I never went there as we didn't need stamps... Just wrote, "FREE" where the stamp belonged... I really took advantage of that.
Across the highway from our Coast Guard Station was a German POW camp. Some of the men worked at Bill's Army Base, Fort Miles, in Lewes, Delaware, about 154 miles away. The Army men didn't like the job of driving the truck or riding "shot gun" in the back because they had to stay over night and there was nothing to do in Bethany Beach. Bill volunteered for the "shot gun" job as we had been married before I went to Delaware. Our SPAR cookoften invited him to eat with us... Sometimes he would bring peach ice cream.
We had a room at one of the tourist houses. One of the two pay phones in town was on our porch at the Radio Station. I think we had the only emergency generator in town. The electricity seemed to go off whenever a storm was approaching so people would come over asking for weather reports when they saw the lights. We really never got any unless the weather was bad from, "Block Island to Cape Hatteras." Then we were busy sending bearings to ships and listening for distress calls to pass on to whoever took care of them.
We had a two story square house... The SPAR's lived downstairs and our Chief's family lived upstairs. There was a side porch facing the road... That's where the phone was. The ocean side had glassed in porches, both downstairs and up. The radio shack was at the end of the upstairs porch. Getting ready for inspection consisted mainly of sweeping out the sand.
When the war was about to end the Chief's 11 year old nephew was visiting... He hung around the Radio Shack waiting for news. Another SPAR and I were on the 6:00 to Midnight watch. When Jimmy got to tired to stay up he went to be d after saying, "Be sure to wake me up if you hear anything."
At midnight Bill came over to walk back our house with me. I had passed Jimmy's message on to the girl's who were on watch 'til 6:00 a.m.
It was a sunny Sunday morning when their watch was over so they decided to come down to the tourist house and wake up Bill and I.
First they woke up Jimmy to tell him there was no Armistice news and invited him to join them. They found a long pole with a bucket hanging on it and Jimmy beat on the bucket with a pipe. They started the racket as soon as they left the station. Most of the housaes were occupied that week end. THere was no air conditioning and all the windows were open.
When the people heard the bucket they came out in their night clothes, grabbing dishpans to beat on. Some went to the czars and honked the horns. THey were shouting to their neighbors, "the war is over!!!!" No one thought to ask the girls what news they had heard and they just went on down to where we were staying. We DID ask them! THey said "no, we just wanted something to do so decided to wake you up." Then they went over to the highway, still beating on the bucket, and the weekend travellers started honking too. They came back to the station and went to bed while Jimmy resumed his vigil with the girls on the morning watch.
It was several days later when official word came but I am sure all the people in Bethany Beach that Sunday still think that they got in on some inside information that only the Coast Guard knew.
- Lois Bouton
Old Salt's who have access to the Internet are encouraged to sign on at Fred's Place, THE site that contains names and addresses of more than 15,000 Coasties of all stripes. The internet address is http://www.fredsplace.org/ You will also find an area aptly named The Reunion Hall which provides a place for each current and former cutter, station, etc. to be signed on to by former crewmen. Look into each unit you were ever on and maybe you will find an old shipmate or two.
The Home Page address of the Coast Guard SeaVets is www.nwlink.com/~kenlong/cgsva.html
The Editor maintains an internet site called "Jack's Joint" http://www.execpc.com/~jeckert/ which carrys among other things stories too long to published in the OSJ.
National President, Larry Stefanovich at email@example.com
National Secretary, Ken Long at firstname.lastname@example.org
News Letter Editor, Jack Eckert at email@example.com
If you have an email address please contact either Mr. Long or Mr. Stefanovich so that you can be listed for easy contact.
FROM THE FORECASTLE
This Issues Posers
Who was the Commandant of the Coast Guard throughout World War II?
What was a sand anchor used for?
Which one of a kind, unique, Coast Guard Cutter after WWII had the hull number W333?
Where were most of the Coast Guard Basic Schools located prior to Governor's Island, Yorktown, and Petaluma?
How many feet is a fathom equal to?
The Answers to Last Issues Posers:
In the Coast Guard what does the length of a vessel have to be to be considered a "Cutter?" 65 Feet
In the Navy USS means United States Ship and it preceeds the name of each ship in commission. The letters preceeding the name of a Coast Guard vessel of sufficient length to be considered a cutter are USCGC. What is the one exception to this on a ship large enough to be considered a cutter? USCGB EAGLE the B meaning "Bark" (Lightships were numbered and with the exception of the "Nantucket" were not considered cutters.)
What displayed device on a Coast Guard boat or cutter indicates that it is in commission? The commission pennant
How many buttons were sewn on the old bell bottom trousers? 14 - The flap had 13, one button did double duty
What does the term, "bitter end" mean? The end of a line or hawser that does not have an 'eye' or other device, usually the bitter end is adorned with a whipping, crown knot or back splice.
BMC Dave Spencer was the only one to get them all right.
Most people stumbled on the Bell Bottom Trouser question but got most of the rest correct.
REQUEST AND REPORT MAST
Ref: Old Salt's Journal Vol II - No. 1, Article: The Boatswains Pipe "Piping The Side"
Ref: USN Blue Jackets Manual, 14th Edition, c1938, page 482, "Sideboys" "They salute together at the first note of the of the pipe and finish together on the last note."
The Coast Guardsman's Manual, 3rd Edition, c 1952 reads the same.
Note: The only person authorized in all of the five armed services to salute with the left hand is the Boatswains Mate when piping the side.
Therefore I beg to differ and set the matter straight.
FROM THE DESK OF THE MCPOCG
MCPOCG VINCE PATTON'S LETTER TO THE CHIEF PETTY OFFICERS OF THE COAST GUARD
Greeting fellow chiefs....
I am embarking on a new initiative of looking at ways of how to properly honor Coast Guard enlisted heroes, and preserve their legacy. The latest article I had sent out to you regarding the Cape Cod helicopter crew memorial and the Station Quillayute River email has weighed on my mind in focusing on this thought. I had received comments sent to the MCPOCG website suggesting renaming the 87 footers from the 'Endangered Species' class, to be called 'The Enlisted Heritage' class.
As it stands now, we name buildings when they're built, and cutters, (if it makes it through the political "gauntlet") after deceased enlisted members. These suggested names compete among a pool of other candidates within the officer and civilian community as well. I'm not suggesting nor saying that the naming process is flawed, in fact it's working quite well. My thoughts are focused primarily on building a much better foundation within the enlisted community. I know, you're going to say, "there he goes again with that Marine Corps story." Yes, that's right....If I said it once, I'll say it a thousand times, the Marines have got it right, and they've seem to hold a monopoly on crystalizing their traditions among their enlisted members. Go visit any Marine Corps base in the world and you'll get my point.
I think it's time for us to stop watching the "other guy" and start going after such initiatives ourselves. Many of those who entered the Coast Guard in the 70s, remember the names of Horsley, Etheridge, Berry, O'Malley, the "Outer Bankers Coasties," Greathouse, and McAdams. I challenge you to askthe first enlisted member you come across who's got less than ten years of service if they've ever heard of these names, and it wouldn't surprise me if you get a blank stare. Many a Coast Guard history book has been written on the great deeds and performance that hundreds of Coast Guardsmen who have gone before us, have demonstrated just exactly what "Semper Paratus" and our core values means in action rather than words. As our aging cutter fleet and shore facilities leave us over the next several years, many of those names will become but a memory. In the "zero-sum" game of the budget picture, preserving legacies aren't part of the equation. Does the name Governors Island ring a bell?
Next challenge quiz, ask someone with less than four years of service where was the Pea Island station. I just did it an hour ago with seven petty officers and only one "thought" he knew where it was (he was right). One person I asked right in front of the display of the Gold Lifesaving Medal and picture of the Pea Island crew (didn't know the answer). I did get one answer, telling me it wasn't a station but a 110' out in Florida somewhere. Yes, I have to remember to word my questions more carefully in the future.
"Well, hold on there Master Chief, this stuff isn't important, why don't you ask me about how well am I doing my job?" That folks is what I think why we need to elevate this initiative of preserving our Enlisted Heritage and Legacy. Another Marine Corps story (and I promise this will be the last one on this email). The Marines define all, I repeat ALL of their leadership definitions within their history, heritage and tradition. There's no reason for everyone to fumble around with an answer to the "$100,000 question," "What does the word 'leadership' mean to you, and how do you relate it to your job?" That's why Douglas Munro is still considered a "Marine" in their book, because there's no one else who comes close to defining all of the Marine Corps core values of honor, courage and commitment, in their history.
Sorry about the Marine Corps emphasis, but that's what happens when you livenext door to the Sergeant Major of the Marine Corps, who taunts me every time he sees me yelling, "Douglas Munro is a real Marine hero!"
Anyway, back to my point....As I look around to all of the facilities and cutters available for naming in the future, there's not a lot of opportunities, and we cannot "hog the naming" to just enlisted members. The idea that several people who've visited the MCPOCG website offering the suggestion of renaming the 87 footers is not a bad idea. Although I would like to support it, I just don't think it's a realistic option. First of all, renaming a class of cutters would be difficult if not impossible. I'm not kidding when I said, "if it makes it through the political gauntlet," and I'm referring to outside the Coast Guard versus internal. So I offer up this idea, how about naming the 47 foot MLBs? They're not named, they're 100% staffed and operated by the enlisted workforce, and I think they are a great example to proudly display and honor our enlisted heritage. I specifically mention the 47 footers, since they're replacing the 44's over the next couple of years.
The idea came quite timely as I was unaware that retired MSTCS, Dr. Dennis Noble had written a letter to the Commandant, suggesting the very same idea, just a few months earlier than my brainstorm. The Commandant liked the idea and has forwarded the suggestion to the Standing Board for Vessel and Shore Facility Names to make a recommendation and inform him of the results.
What do you think? If you like this idea, who should it be limited to? The policy and regulations indicate that ship and shore naming must be of a deceased individual. With that said, if we're focusing on the 47 footers, should it only be surfmen qualified? Any CG enlisted hero?
Secondly, we need to define what the definition of "hero" is? Someone who's earned a certain type of an award? I'll need some other thoughts and ideas from you, to help move this idea along.
NEW COAST GUARD CUTTER
On another note, the Soon-to-be-officially named "USCGC ALEX HALEY", a converted Navy Diving/Salvage ship is in its final stages of making preparations to getting underway to its new homeport of Kodiak, AK later this summer. The HALEY will be known as a WMEC-39, the number "39" representing the year JOC Haley enlisted in the Coast Guard. As of this writing, plans for the the ship to be commissioned on 10 July at the Coast Guard Yard, Baltimore, MD.
A little information on the HALEY. Commissioned in 1971 by the U. S. Navy as the USS EDENTON, she was built in Great Britain. The HALEY will be classed as a medium endurance cutter, at 282.8 feet in length, with a 50 foot beam, and a 15 foot draft. The HALEY will have a complement of 10 Officers, 8 chief petty officers and 82 E-6 and below, for a total of 100 personnel. The ship will be designed for helicopter capabilities and for mixed gender crew.
Many of the alterations being done right now at the CG Yard include, removal of the salvage cranes and booms, building the flight deck, and reconfiguration of the crew habitability spaces. The HALEY's electronic suite will be extensively upgraded to the equivalent of a 210' WMEC class cutter.
Most importantly, the cutter is being named after Chief Journalist Alex Haley, whom I'm sure you all know who he was.
This will be known as "The Chief's cutter." This also happens to be the first Coast Guard cutter to be named for a chief petty officer. As such, the ship's emblem will feature the chief's anchor and shield, with the words of Alex Haley's most prolific and used phrase, "Find the Good and Praise It" along the shank. I view this as an opportunity for our entire CPO community to embrace a symbol of our seagoing service tradition, and raising the visibility of the importance of "The Chief." I call on all chiefs, active, reserve, retired and honorary to proactively support our new found symbol of service, the USCGC HALEY.
Until the next time,
GRUMBLINGS FROM THE ENGINEROOM
ARE WE OR AREN'T WE??
Eons ago we proudly displayed this decal on a window our homes and on our cars. We were as one. Our pride showed. Not the "Gung-Ho" pride of the Marine Corps but the pride of being a part of a unique family of military people who dedicated their lives to the preservation of life and property at sea. We trained for war by doing our peacetime missions every day. Our jobs were different; we were sailors, surfmen, lighthouse keepers, loran-men, staff personnel, marine inspectors, we were people who could be depended upon to go anywhere and do anything - A "Can Do" organization that was in it's entirety, " A Coast Guard Family."
The children and grand children have disowned their parents and grandparents. The "New Guard" dressed as "sea cops" seems to have forgotten their ancestory. It is far more than a generation gap; it is a change in culture. The "Old Guard" with their sailor suits, and Donald Duck hat's are made fun of. There is no common languaage between old and new. The "New Guard" considers the old geezers as "Hooligans from a disreputable Shanty Irish family." The "Old Guard" doesn't understand the New Guard and really doesn't want to. One group talks Turkish,. the other Greek.
Let's do something about it.
The Marines are proud of The Halls of Montezuma and the Shores of Tripoli.
We have a lot to be proud of old and new that should be bringing all of us together as a family - But I don't hear it!!!
THE SLOP CHEST
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Coast Guard Heroes To You and Me
by Dolly Juhlin ©1995
Heroes they aren't, the Coasties we know
Can't pin that name on them
They're only just guys in uniforms
They're simply uncommon men
Unwelcome intruders to all they meet
As they board the foreign ships
Fishery patrol is harmless duty
Just keep your guns on your hips
Drug interdiction is a merry old job
There's no chance of getting blown away
Floating around on balmy seas
Painting leaves on your ship every day
Isolated duty is their favorite of all
Leaving family and friends far behind
A year of loneliness is good for the soul
It helps to broaden one's mind
Icebreaking is a joy to most Coasties
The Great Lakes are their friend
Beards frozen stiff and fingers numb
Pounding noise through the hull end to end
Pulling and setting those buoys
Is child's play to one and all
Don't smash your fingers, watch out for that winch!
Damn you if one should fall
Fix it again and again and again
Coasties love their left over gear
Hand-me-downs, fixer ups, broken and used
Let's see if it lasts one more year
They're blamed for all the bar room brawls
"Fleet's in, let's see what's up"
The locals think it's all a joke
When the Coasties run amuck
Did they serve in Nam? Gee, I didn't know that
Thought there were just real soldiers there
There couldn't have been many or I would have known
Guess we don't have to bother to care
A thankful job which many share
Is saving drunken yachtsmen
From ships they can't sail when sober
And who bitch if you're not kindly to them
And then there's the idiot fishermen
Who don't know enough to stay at home
When storm clouds and seas overtake them
They're stranded out there all alone
Yes, our guys have to deal with them all
And save their worthless lives
With no time to think of their safety
That's a job left to Coastie wives
You have to go out, but some don't come back
They're memories, but not heroes at all
A Commandant's bulletin will praise their work
To cross the bar is just answering the call
Moving cross country to new jobs and homes
Is a challenge they look forward to
What kind of housing will wait for them?
Where do the kids go to school?
Who's the new boss? Will we like it here?
Answers matter not much at all
You're there and that's that, for a couple of years
Answering whatever duty calls
Watching your family break all apart
'Cause you spend so much time out at sea
The seamen hear stories of marriages ending
And muse "Will it happen to me?"
Just 'cause your ship's pulled up in port
And you've been out to sea for so long
Stay away from the women, the CO says
Or you'll be singing a woeful song
Keep your hands in your pockets, watch out for your mates
And sure, have a really good time
But should any trouble just happen your way
You'll definitely be walking the line
Ah, it's fun to be part of the Coast Guard
The pay, the bennies are great
We're the smallest and poorest service
The one all others love to hate
Though many don't call them heroes
Not understanding what they do
We know what our Coasties are made of
They're brave, dauntless men through and through
They know what their job is and do it
Not expecting the world to pay homage
In our eyes they stand straight and tall
Exemplary in their courage
They're heroes to their Coast Guard family
A membership sought after and won
By our Coasties being Semper Paratus
For whatever job needs to be done
Reproduced with permission of author
FROM THE QUARTERDECK
We hope that you have enjoyed this edition of the "Old Salt's Journal." Your suggestions for improvement and your submission of timely and interesting materials will be greatly appreciated.
Look for us again in the late Summer
Don't Forget to write and tell us what you like and don't like about the Old Salt's Journal. We appreciate your contributions and are want more to put in future issues. Expect your next issue in August 1999. Semper Paratus, Smooth Sailing, and Maintain the Traditions!
FROM THE SHIPS OFFICE
Officers and Board Members of the Coast Guard Sea Veterans of America:
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Rod C. Jernigan - Vice President
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Jack A. Eckert - Director
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