MCPOCG SCATHINGLY INDICTS AIR FORCE STAFF SERGEANT
The Internet Edition of
The Old Salt's Journal
Volume II - No. 3 Summer 1999
The Coast Guard Sea Veterans of America Quarterly Newsletter
This is the seventh issue of our Quarterly Newsletter, the "Old Salts Journal." It is published sometime during each of the four seasons of the year.
IN THIS ISSUE:
Nantucket Lightship May Be Scrapped
The High Speed Approach
The Legend Of John Dobbin
One Last Message From A Queen
and more ........And Much Much More
MCPOCG VINCE PATTON DEFINES HIS REWARD AND RECOGNITION COIN IN A COMMUNICATION TO AN AIR FORCE SERGEANT.
FROM THE INTERNET:
Starts: 08/14/99, 03:45:01 PDT
Ends: 08/17/99, 03:45:01 PDT
Price: Currently $47.03
To bid on the item, go to:
This is the personal challenge coin of the Master Chief Petty Officer of the Coast Guard, Vince Patton. It is a quality coin and would make a wonderful addition to anyone's collection. Buyer adds $2 for shipping.
When alerted by CG SeaVet's President, Larry Stefanovich and others that one of his REWARD AND RECOGNITION COINS was offered for sale on the Internet, MCPOCG Patton identified and then contacted an Air Force Staff Sergeant who works in the Pentagon of his personal displeasure with the sergeant's actions.
"Your selling of not only my coin, but others you have done in the past, and the ones you are presently advertising on eBay, degredates what I believe to be the priceless value that has been placed on the whole meaning of using coins as recognition presentations by myself, my senior enlisted counterparts - Sergeant Major of the Army Bob Hall, Sergeant Major of the Marine Corps Al McMichael, Master Chief Petty Officer of the Navy Jim Herdt, and your own Chief Master Sergeant of the Air Force Jim Finch, along with senior officers, senior enlisted of all of the U.S. and foreign military services who view their value.The presentation of these coins are not to be treated like baseball trading cards. Although I cannot speak for them on how they feel about having their coins up for sale, knowing my counterparts personally, I would imagine they too would have similar views as I have on how these coins are treated and presented," wrote Patton.
In another part of the communication Patton says, "This morning I wrote a letter of appreciation to four Coast Guard members who were involved in a daring rescue case off the coast of New Jersey near Atlantic City, where the boat coxswain, a Petty Officer Third Class (E-4), made a daring attempt to save a woman and child's life by beaching his boat as a way to save time to get the woman to the hospital. The daring attempt was quite risky, but he and his crew only thought of saving a life. They each received a coin along with my personal thanks for their exhibiting our service's core value of "DEVOTION TO DUTY." I wonder what they would think knowing that someone feels the symbol of their performance is for sale."
He concludes, "I'll continue to use my coins in the manner of finding the good, and praising it. My service's core values, as are the Army, Marine Corps, Navy and Air Force's, are not for sale."
The full text of the message is reprinted later in this posting
When contacted SeaVet's President Stefanovich said, "Speaking for the entire membership of the Coast Guard Sea Veterans, we whole heartedly support Patton's action, Guarding the Tradition of the Coast Guard and our sister services. We tell sea stories and acknowledge our own foibles, but we are proud lot and to a man dispise the actions of this money grubbing Air Force Sergeant who at best acted in the tradition of a Sergeant Bilko by degrading us as he has. In the name of free enterprise will he next gather Congressional Medal's of Honor and peddle them on the internet?"
LETTER FROM THE PRESIDENT
Hello Fellow "GUARDIANS OF THE TRADITION"
I had the privilege and pleasure since the last Issue of OSJ,of attending the reunion of the South Padre Island CG station, CGC Hudson (WYT-87) and CGC Boutwell (WSC 130). I was a Station member as well as a crew member of the Hudson. Much to my surprise two of the BMC's from the Station and the Hudson were there. BMC Ambrose Pechacek From the Station, and BMC Robert Felan from the Hudson. Also an old Boot camp buddy and CG Sea Vet member Jim Gheller was there. We served on the Station together in 1957. Some new members were signed on and hopefully they will be with us for many years to come. As usual some of the guys we served with have crossed the bar. But are not forgotten. There was a big get together on the island at a local bistro followed by an informal one at Jackie Davidson's spacious home on the island. His hospitality was second to none. A big and hearty THANK YOU Jackie! And now the Good part. The CG station on the island threw the doors wide open and one and all were given a hale and hearty welcome by CO Jackie Kyger and his crew. Thank you also Mr Kyger, I enjoyed our meeting immensely. And that about sums it up in Port Isabel this year. Another get together is planned for October, 2001
IN THE NEWS
NANTUCKET L/V MAY BE SCRAPPED
By Doug Binham
The historic Lightship, WLV 612 known as Nantucket, built in 1950 at Curtis Bay, Maryland is facing its most perilous hour.
The lightship has been in the custody of an agency of the Commonwealth of Massachusetts known as the Metropolitan District Commission or MDC. Commissioner David Balfour is imitating Pilate, by washing his hands of the Lightship 612. The MDC has had responsibility for the 612 since 1987 and has never put a penny into it's restoration or preservation. A non profit group called Friends of Nantucket 1 have assumed the care and upkeep of the ship and have never received any support from the agency which owns it .
Now the ship is on the surplus and disposal list, it may very well be heading for the scrap pile if a new owner can not be found.
Now is the time for all dedicated Coasties and lightship sailors everywhere to stand up and be counted . Call the MDC and express your outrageat what is going on and demand that the lightship be saved, there are only 12 or 13 of these vessels left, we don't need another artificial reef .
The MDC Telephone Number is 617-727-5250 - Email address is http://www.state.ma.us/mdc/harbor.htm.
Douglas M. Bingham - American Lighthouse Foundation , Randolph , MA - email@example.com
(c)1997 by Dolly Juhlin
Into their sock they stuffed all their gear
Girls on their minds and thirsty for beer
Nothing could stop them, they had Liberty
On down the gangplank, at last they were free
Raring for fun, caring not what the price
Always ready these guys, but not always nice
Nearing the bars after long months at sea
They weren't looking for girls like you or like me
Perhaps you are shocked, or sick with disgust
In case you are wondering, they're still one of us
Gone are the days when these things went on
Sweet memories for some, Coastie dreams are long gone.
THE HIGH SPEED APPROACH
By Floyd Stormer
Sometimes the FTG*** folks at GITMO* became dogmatic in their operational techniques and training methods.
In the late fifties we were undergoing refresher training at GITMO*, CGC DUANE, Captain Paul Trimble was CO, and Commander Dick Hoover was the XO. Prior to underway fueling the Navy requested we try the new "high speed destroyer approach." In this maneuver the tanker holds a steady course and speed of about 12 knots. The destroyer approaches at an angle and a speed of something over 20 knots. At a specified distance she backs her engines full. This slows the destroyer and theoretically at least, throws a wall of water between the two ships. When slowed to the tanker's speed, the destroyer then goes ahead about 2/3 and is in a position to pass the fueling hoses.
Captain Trimble objected rather strenuously against trying this maneuver as the DUANE was somewhat heavier and larger than the destroyers of the time and had far less astern power. Never the less, he finally agreed to do so if the Navy would put the request in writing.
At the specified time and place the engines were backed full. Apparently this did not do the job as a few seconds later emergency astern was rung and GQ sounded. Seconds later we struck the tanker a glancing blow. During the approach I was the EOW** but after GQ was sounded I became the Damage Control Officer.
About ten minutes later I reported to the bridge on damage. We had approximately 20 frames stove in starboard in the forward crews quarters and the starboard boat davit had been moved inboard about a foot or two. I was the only personnel casualty with two cracked ribs trying to get a port light closed.
Both ships were dead in the water about a mile apart when I came to the bridge. The tanker's signal light was blinking furiously. Captain Trimble was sitting on the pelorus stand very calm and relaxed. Commander Hoover handed him a message from the tanker which he read and handed back without comment. Finally Dick asked, "What do you want me to tell him Captain? ('Him' was a Navy four striper) ... Jesus Christ he's mad."
"Tell him to brace himself," Captain Trimble replied, "I'm gonna try it again." Five minutes later the tanker was hull down for GITMO.
Shortly thereafter the Navy abandoned the "high speed approach." I've often wondered if the DUANE wasn't part of the reason.
* Guantanamo Bay, Cuba
** Engineering Officer of the Watch
*** Fleet Training Group
From "This - *?#!@*? Was The Coast Guard" by Esther Stormer c1985 -- Reprinted by permission.
By Dave Moyer
The Owasco Chronicles were written during the Vietnam war by Mr. Moyer. This story is one of many.
Hong Kong was a fantastic liberty port. Exotic, mysterious, and full of surprises, especially for a 20-year-old sailor from Pennsylvania. Some of those exotic events are better left unexplained, but the sights of Hong Kong and Kowloon, along with the culture of the Chinese people, are two important memories that will stay with me forever. Our stop in Hong Kong also introduced me to something I had never experienced_a close-up look at a foreign navy. British, to be more precise.
Because Hong Kong was a British Colony, it stands to reason that the British navy would also take advantage of this pearl of Asia as a place for their sailors to blow off steam. Two British corvettes happened to be in port during our visit and were permitted to tie up to a pier_American vessels had to anchor out and their liberty personnel ferried ashore in motor launches.
The Brits provided a great recreational and shopping facility dockside for their military personnel; jewelry and clothing stores, along with electronic shops and other retail outlets were under one roof called the British Fleet Club, which was sanctioned by the government_one could shop without fear of being cheated. An important fact when you are unfamiliar with the culture or language. The recreational facilities were clean, and the enlisted men's club was the finest I was ever in. That's where I met my fellow British sailors.
A shipmate and I didn't have a lot of money and thought a perfect place to go was the enlisted men's club where that English beer was cheap and the food was practically free. Entering the club we realized we were the only Americans there, but, not to worry, the Brits made us feel as if we owned the place. Two sailors escorted us to their table and immediately ordered a couple of beers on them. From the looks of things they had been there quite a while and weren't feeling a lot of pain, but friendly they were.
We were a hit. First, we weren't Navy men, we were Coast Guard. That was something new for those guys. Second, our hats, of all things, fascinated them. They were similar to theirs. Heck, when you're half-way around the world that almost makes you brothers, or first cousins at the very least.
Things went along fine for the first half hour when one of them leaned forward and asked if I'd like to shoot some darts for a beer. What the hell! I had a dart board when I was a kid. "Sure, let's see what you can do." That statement was not one of my most intelligent utterances of my life. I went to the board and pulled out the darts. He didn't need any. You see, he carried his own. He reached into his jumper and pulled out a little polished teakwood box with brass hinges and clasp. He carefully opened this work of art and revealed four of the finest looking darts I ever hope to see, nestled in their very own niches, resting on thick red felt. This little box made some coffins look like cigar boxes. Well, after I bought the third round I guess he started feeling guilty and put his "babies" away. He was good. I wasn't.
In addition to suckering Americans at darts, I found the driest sense of humor I have ever experienced. An example may help prove my point: we American military men like ribbons and medals, and by that time I proudly boasted four. Sounds impressive, but they should be explained. First, there was the National Defense Medal. You got that one in boot camp. It was awarded to anyone who simply served in the military during time of conflict. The second medal was the Combat Action Medal; if you saw any kind of combat, they gave that one to you. Third was the Vietnamese Campaign Medal with two stars. That was presented for duty in the combat zone and the commendation and each star stood for a major offensive, or something like that. Last was the Vietnamese Service Medal. I think the Vietnamese gave you that for showing up on time. All were worn on your dress uniform above your left breast pocket for everyone to admire.
The British Commendation process is slightly different. Let me put it this way: If a British sailor suffered 16 bullet wounds which rendered both arms and leg useless, then jumped from an aircraft flying at 5000 feet without a parachute into the enemy capital, single-handedly capturing the entire enemy force alive and returning them to Nelson's Square in London, he may get a letter place in his personnel file. Not a medal, just a letter in his personnel file.
This subtle difference in services came to light when, after a good number of shared brews, my British counterpart leaned across the table, pointed at one of my ribbons and asked in the greatest cockney accent, "Watcha get that'un fer mate, crossin' a river?" He made his point.
We swapped cigarettes, stories, and insults for about three hours that day. Finally one last round was bought and the farewells were toasted and drunk to. The next morning the corvettes sailed. I think about those guys occasionally and wonder if they remember that day. You know, after a few hours, the uniforms looked the same as ours, and the accents seemed to disappear. Funny how that can happen.
THE UNSINKABLE DERELICT
By Richard White
My favorite 255 story is the attempted sinking of a derelict off Santa Rosa Island. We were returning from San Francisco, when our old man, who was trying to impress the Admiral of CG District 11 and would go 100 miles out of his way to take a SAR case, got a message from both CG Districts 11 and 12. When the CG 12 & 11 both contacted us concerning a large derelict floating in the main channel, the old man almost had a brown nose hemorrhage.
We were sent to find the derelict. We found it and it was a large 60(+) foot fishing boat that had overturned . We sent a small boat over to the hulk. The gunners mates put two concussion grenades charges on the hull. Then the small boat backed off and using a draw string, detonated the charges.
The old man had a fit. He was going to have report that the Minnetonka could not sink a derelict. The next thing I know we are going to General Quarters. (This was a time when the quad 40 MM were still on 255's.)
We backed off and opened fire with the 40's. Red tracers were hitting the water and going in every direction. Well let me tell you the residents on Santa Rosa Island were not pleased to see 40MM tracers skipping off the water and landing all over the Island.
We fired about 50 rounds and never did hit the damn thing!!!!!!
Before long a Navy helicopter hovered over us while a flash message from Commander 11th Naval District was received at the same time ordering us to cease and desist further gunfire.
We finally ended towing the derelict out of the shipping lane and a tug took it from there.
When we reached Long Beach there were representatives from CG District 11 waiting. It was not to congratulate the old man.
I was on the Minnetonka WPG 67 out of Long Beach, California. I boarded in September of 1961 and left in June of 1965 and went from SA to QM1. So I knew that 255 intimately and can attest to this story.
The 255 was a interesting ship to serve on. To put it mildly is was not a smooth riding ship.
Seaworthy to be sure, but in bad weather, well let's just say it was an experience. I can remember relieving the Taney on Ocean Station November and she was gently rocking. We on the other hand were taking 20 degree rolls.
This got worse when they put the SPS 29 Radar on in late 1963.
FROM THE MASTER CHIEF PETTY OFFICER OF THE COAST GUARD, VINCE PATTON
Dear Fellow Sea Vets,
Recently, I received a call from a young Coast Guard petty officer asking for my assistance in what he thought at the time was probably "out of my realm of responsibility." The young man participated in an "Ironman" Triathlon race. This is one of those "Superman/Superwoman" type events which includes biking, swimming and running a million miles with a bunch of other people who think it's a neat thing to do. Often times these events are done is some pretty warm weather, so just completing the event is no small picnic. In other words, an event like this - "no wimps need apply!"
The good news here is the young Coast Guardsman did exceptionally well. Although he did not "win" the event, he did place first in the very competitive military division, finishing just over 15 minutes ahead of his next competitor. At the end of the race when the awards were handed out for winners in the respective divisions, this young man went home empty handed. He had done nothing wrong, nor was disqualified from the race for unsportsmanlike conduct, drug testing, or any other reason in which one could be eliminated from the competition. It was the race organizer's decision that the young Coast Guardsman was disqualified from the military division because as the officials put it and I quote,"the Coast Guard is not[a] military service."
Like him, I was stunned to hear about this story. I went from stunned to enraged after I received the email from the race official who made the statement that this young man was denied his proper place because he was not considered a member of the armed forces of the United States. If your television cable system was out of order on June 3rd, I humbly apologize.You see when I heard of this story and found it to be true, I "launched." During my "orbits around earth" I must have bumped into the cable satellite. Sorry about that!
The fact that this matter got to my level is enough of a concern that I wanted to share this story with you. The decisions by the race officials and organizers based on misinformation about defining a military service extended beyond just a "shooting from the hip" statement. It also became a case of where individuals who were not willing to understand and accept the true answer, also resented the fact that they had to be corrected by the military. In fact, when I wrote a very detailed and polite letter to the race organizer, I simply provided a factual statement taken directly from Title, 14, U. S. Code Section 1, which clearly defines the Coast Guard as a "military service and a branch of the armed forces of the United States at all times." The best approach was a little bit of education - so I thought.
The initial response from the race organizer was also a little surprising. While I thought it should have been an open and shut case, there appeared to be some apprehension to not only resolve this problem by properly awarding the military division win to the Coast Guardsman, but they chose to reevaluate the validity of even having military members singled out, among other "professional" divisions (law enforcement, collegiate, athletic clubs, etc.). Their resolution to this my request was to simply abolish the military division, therefore no harm no foul. Personally, I saw this as a resentment towards military members overall. This matter became more than just raising the awareness and visibility of the Coast Guard. It is now ensuring that all of our military services are adequately represented, and should have equal footing of reputation with collegiate, law enforcement and other professional agencies who were all separately recognized. Members of the military - are all PROFESSIONALS, whether you're a grunt, paratrooper, sailor or Coast Guardsman.
There is a happy ending to this story - after writing to the race officials, which also was followed up by hundreds of letters, phone calls, emails, and the media involvement, the Coast Guardsman was restored his rightful place in the division and has received the appropriate honors. Even correspondence from members of the Army, Marines, Navy, Air Force and the CGSVA, helped in this effort of educating a few people about their wrongful judgment of denying this member of his award. The military division will remain with this event - with the Coast Guard of course firmly planted and included as one of the FIVE branches of the armed forces.
The importance of raising the visibility of all of our services' proactively in national security is everyone's responsibility. By educating the public in what we do in our services, this will take out the mystic of what today's military service is all about, and hopefully encourage our American citizens to help support us. That of course is very necessary as issues and concerns affecting our members and their families on pay and benefits, health care and housing are decisions that are made by members of Congress.
Though the importance of CGSVA membership is mostly for comraderie and to keep the history, heritage and traditions of the Coast Guard strong -- the membership played an inportant part to this small but significant victory. Thanks for helping me educate the public about our proud service.
THE LEGEND OF JOHN DOBBIN
From "We've Been There" c1992 by Esther Stormer
Our Coast Guard too has it's lore - This preposterous tale is part of it. It has gone through many metamorphoses over the years and is still told in one of it's many forms.
During the late 20's and early 30's, Coast Guard Destroyer and Cutter crews amused themselves by orally passing on bits and pieces of Coast Guard folklore; usually at the expense of their "White Water" Sandpounder partners in crime. In the process they often invented legends of their own.
One of the favorite early yarns had to do with the legendary, "John Dobbin" who, with the aid of his sponsors allegedly put one over on the establishment. Like most legends, there may have been a small kernel of truth in the original story, but by the time it had made the rounds by word of mouth, the truth may have been lost in the shuffle.
Stripped to the bare bones, the story tells of the crew of a "now since long decommissioned" Surf Station, passing the hat to obtain funds to buy a horse to help them with their heavier chores such as hauling the surf boat or equipment to a wreck site. Later, when it became apparent that the horse was eating them out of house and home, the Keeper enlisted him (the horse) in the name of JOHN DOBBIN, to fill an existing vacancy at the station. When it became apparent that the new "surfman's" salary was insufficient to keep the horse supplied with hay and oats, the conspiratorsmanaged to get him promoted to BM2/c, the next higher rating.
All went well until one day when orders were received to transfer "BM2/c JOHN DOBBIN" to a cutter. Instead of panicking, the resourceful crew sold the horse to a local farmer and dashed off a report to District Headquarters to the effect that DOBBIN deserted. As ridiculous as it may seem, there are a few old timers around who insist that the equine Sandpounder is still carried on the rolls as a "deserter."
Folklore is regional however, and some folk heroes change identities within the locale in which their tale is being told. This might account for the fact that some old time yarn spinners claim the real hero of this preposterous tale has a hybrid named JOHN MULE who was carried on the payroll of the Coast Guard Yard where he earned his keep by hauling coal out to coal burning cutters moored at the end of the long finger pier.
This yarn was related to me by Commander William M. Erhman, USCG (retired)
ONE LAST MESSAGE FROM A QUEEN
By John R Smith
This was s a last goodbye from a lovely lady.
Late one summer evening while on the Distress watch at the ubiquitous CG Radio Station Juneau (NOJ), a loud modulated carrier wave began resonating through the headphones on 500 kcs. I have no idea the transmitter wattage, but the originator sounded as if he were sitting in St. Paul Harbor, in Kodiak. After initial tuning, the following message was sent out over the airwaves for all the West Coast to hear:
CQ DE GBTT BT AMVER NOW QTP LONG BEACH _ FOREVER BT (*)73*S (**)VA**
To the poor, unwashed masses, this group of disjointed tones was merely another collection of dots and dashes in that foreign language of Morse Code. To the more informed, this brief message sent to "All Ships and Stations" (CQ) heralded the end of one of the most glamorous eras in history, for it represented the final docking message from RMS Queen Mary, and the virtual end of trans-oceanic passenger liner service.
To those of us fascinated_no, obsessed would be a better word_with those gigantic, beautiful, floating palaces, it was a rather sad message. I can only imagine how the Radio Officer felt. The only problem was, he wasn't able to shut his transmitter down for more than two hours following that all-stations AMVER (Automated Merchant Vessel Report). I was amazed by the sheer number of "73s", "Good Luck, OM and other well-wishes from vessels of all nationalities. International Call signs beginning with "G", "D", "U", "J", "6" and many others, as well as the expected American "K", "W", and yes, even "N". Formal radio procedure seemed to take a breather for this monumental occasion. Only the Silent Periods were legally observed.
Later, Queen Mary's Radio Officer made a final, emotional sign off by keying his transmitter, and hitting the power switch, allowing that beautiful, broad signal to fade off into oblivion.
Another glamorous, romantic era had fallen victim to progress.
(*) Best Regards
(**) End of ALL transmissions.
This story will be published in "Coast Guard Sea Stories," an Anthology by Dan Gardner.
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.jacksjoint.com/ which carrys among other things stories too long to published in the OSJ. This is a new address.
National President, Larry Stefanovich at firstname.lastname@example.org
National Secretary, Ken Long at email@example.com
News Letter Editor, Jack Eckert at firstname.lastname@example.org
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
1. Some of the 378's, all of the 327's, and three of the AVP's were named after former Secretaries of the Treasury. Which other class of cutters built since WWI were also so named?
2. When is King Neptune's Court convened?
3. On which Coast Guard Station was the "Mansion" located?
4. What are tholl pins used for?
5. Watertight doors, hatches, and certain fittings are marked "W" "X" "Y" or "Z" or modifications thereof. Which fittings are always closed except when they are in use?
The Answers to Last Issues Posers:
1. Who was the Commandant of the Coast Guard throughout World War II? Admiral Russell Waesche
2. What was a sand anchor used for? Beach Apparatus.
3. Which one of a kind, unique, Coast Guard Cutter after WWII had the hull number W333? CGC YAMACRAW a Cable Layer.
4. Where were most of the Coast Guard Basic Schools located prior to Governor's Island, Yorktown, and Petaluma? Groton, Connecticut
How many feet is a fathom equal to? Six feet.
REQUEST AND REPORT MAST
News Letter Editor
The Old Salt's Journal
I am a new member of the Sea Veterans but one of those thousands of Coast Guard veterans who have quietly supported the service for years. I thought the information below might be worthwhile for the newsletter. For Sea Veterans, especially those in the Northeast, here is a fun way to quickly find yourself a part of the Coast Guard family again -- if only for a day.
Take an autumn Saturday afternoon and catch the Coast Guard\ Academy Bears play Division III Freedom Conference football. The academy at New London, Cn. is located just of Route 95 halfway between New York and Boston. It would be a day trip for many Sea Veterans. My sons and I make the trip several times a season or catch the Bears or when they visit Danbury, Cn. or Kings Point, N.Y. every other year. We have never had a bad experience.
Picturesque Cadet Field is a snug 4,000-seat stadium that overlooks the Themes River. In the distance, the Eagle is moored and you can go aboard prior to the game. And it is not unusual to see a Navy sub slip up the river to its base at Groton.
Tickets are reasonable and always available on game day. The steeped stands on the Coast Guard side of the field put you on top of the action. Wear something indicating you are a Coast Guard vet and you are quickly part of the family.
And here is a side benefit. The academy store is open to visitors and you can purchase those forever hard-to-find Coast Guard caps, T-shirts and sweatshirts.
The Bears are coming off a 1-8 `98 season but with a new head coach and 38 letterwinners, including 19 starters, returning, better times are expected.. The Bears finished 9-2 in 1997 and were the only team in New England to go to the Division III playoffs that year and in 1996.
Sports Illustrated has declared the annual Coast Guard-KingsPoint game rivals the Army-Navy classic -- but without the traffic headaches. Here is where you can cheer for the Bears in '99:
Sept. 11, 1:30 p.m. - Mass. Maritime at Buzzards Bay, Ma.
Sept. 18, 1:30 p.m. - RPI at Troy, NY.
Sept. 25, 1:30 p.m. - Springfield at New London (Parents)
Oct. 2, 1:30 p.m. - Norwich at New London (Homecoming)
Oct. 9, 1:30 p.m. - Mt. Ida at New London
Oct. 16, 1:30 p.m. - Western Conn. at Danbury, CN.
Oct. 23, 1:30 p.m. - Union at New London
Oct. 30, 1:30 p.m. - Plymouth St. at Plymouth, NH.
Nov. 6, 1 p.m. - WPI at New London
Nov. 13, 1 p.m. - Kings Point Merchant Marine Academy at New London
Everybody up for the kickoff.
GRUMBLINGS FROM THE ENGINEROOM
A LOOK AT SHIP REUNIONS
About the time a person hits sixty the inevitable has been accepted and it is common to reflect back on one's life. Those of us who were, and always will be, Coasties look back to those days remembering our duty stations and our shipmates. "I wonder what happened to Chief Smith." "Is that old rum-dum 'Lushwell' Jones still alive or did he die in the arms of some floozie in a Bangkok brothel? " "Did Just Plain Bill stay in or did he get out? "Is the CGC Neversink still out there?" These thoughts and hundreds more invade our reveries. We see and remember most things clearly when we focus on them, but tomorrow comes, we vaguely remember today's thoughts and new memories arise. Oh that the clock could be turned back and those good old days relived.
One day you learn that the old Neversink may be having a reunion in the next few months or so. What luck! A letter to the sponsoring committee along with a check is rushed off by snail mail telling them you will be in attendance, front and center.
Now the thoughts become more focused about that ship even though you served on a couple of other units. As the date for the reunion draws near the anticipation of being with old shipmates increases expotentially. Here is a chance to relive old experiences and renew old friendships. It has been said that one is closer to one's shipmates than to one's family. This may be an exageration to some, but it is true.
The time draws near, bags are packed and the journey made to the reunion location.
After check-in at the reunion hotel, you and your spouse wander around until you find a table set up in the corner of the lobby with a banner over it saying, "WELCOME CREWMAN OF THE CGC NEVERSINK." The table is manned by an elderly couple you don't know. You identify yourself, one checks you off on the list and another hands you a manilla envelope. "Where is everybody?" you ask. "Down the hall, to your left, and into the ballroom" is the reply. "Oh yes, your name tags, they are in the envelope, be sure you and your spouse wear them," the welcoming lady adds.
Sporting new name tags you meander down the hall. to the left, and into the ballroom. WHAT A SHOCKER! "Who are all of these old people?" you wonder. You bump into a very well dressed and obviously well to do man with a rather faded looking woman on his sleeve and discreetly check his name tag. LUCAS JONES, it says. Can it be old 'Lushwell'? you think. "Mr. Jones, I am ..... and this is my wife ...... Were we on the NEVERSINK in 1956 together?" Mr. Jones says, "yes, I believe we were, you do look vaguely familiar, are you ....... ???" And the conversation goes on for a few minutes as pleasantries are exchanged. You kind of wish Mrs. Jones wasn't around so you could ask him why he wasn't hanging around some bar or bordello like he did in the old days, but you think better of the idea.
As the day melts into evening, having spliced the main brace, talking with this one and that one the realities of age set in. You are as old as they are. Funny, you never recognize that old guy who looks back at you from the mirror every morning. You finally realize that time freezes a face since the last time you saw them. In your mind your shipmates are ageless until you see them. It is good to see them but the commaraderie is not quite what you thought it would be.
You learn that that great old cutter that was your best life jacket and you considered yourself a part of forever, that old bucket you made seven weather patrols, a yard, a Gitmo, and several recalls on, is no more. Sure there is a picture of it posted and a tear comes into your eye, but overwhelming grief rushes in when you find that that great ship, the best one in the Guard was sold by the Coast Guard to a salvage company for $6,000 and made into razor blades. What a sickening emptiness to learn that. Part of you died today.
The night goes on, a banquet dinner, singing of Semper Paratus, several speeches, an award or two and the affair is over. A few linger on talking over the old days, but something is missing.
Bags packed, a few goodbyes and you are homeward bound with mixed emotions, you were happy to see some of your shipmates, you were surprised at how many people you DIDN'T know, and worst of all the knowledge that your ship, the one that was so much a part of your life looking backwards is gone. It was harder than losing a parent.
My ship reunion was for the MACKINAW, "The Great White Mother of the Great Lakes." Every five years since 1969 there has been a MACKINAW reunion held in the same home port it has always had, Cheboygan, Michigan. The one this year was the seventh reunion and the 55th (as of December 30) birthday of the arrival of the MACKINAW to Cheboygan.
This is an event my spouse and I look forward to (not the aging of five more years) with relish. We have been able to attend since 1984 and have not only kept old friendships alive but kindled new ones. We recognize each other and catch up on what transpired over ther past five years.
It is a full three day event begining on a Thursday with a cocktail party in the ship's rec building on the dock with the old girl in the background. Friday is get underway time. Most of the couple of hundred in attendance boarded for our six hour trip. Oh how good it felt to have the ship's deck beneath us and feel the vibrations of the ship as she moved along at standard speed. The day was a bit drizzly but who cared:? There were smiles all about. We were given a demonstration of the modern helicopter rescue techniques with a swimmer in the water attaching the survivor and then being lifted aboard. Not content with once, they did it twice. All too soon the ship ride was over. I wondered in my own mind if I was still E-105 on the Watch, Quarter and Station Bill. It was good!!!
Friday night we had a banquet with the usual awards and speeches and banquet food. Saturday it was a picnic and ball game between the new crew and those of the old crew who could shed their canes and walkers long enough to play an inning or so. Nobody really knows nor cares who won or lost. This was comaradarie. The hotdogs, hamburgers, and beer were outstanding. Saturday night we had a dance with plenty enough foo foo's and goodies to obviate the necessity of patronizing one of Cheboygan's fine eateries. The only difference today from the old days is the party broke up before midnight.
On Sunday we sought each other out and said our goodbye's and headed home.
What was the difference, the real difference? The Ship, Dummy, the real ship that we had all sailed on sometime in our Coast Guard lives. It was there, it was alive, it was still doing her job, the same one we did 10, 20, 30, 40, 50 ..... 55 years ago. The uniforms have changed, there are girls assigned to the ship now, and she is painted red like a Light Ship, the only criticism voiced by anyone.
Because of the regularity of the event we have aged with our old friends and shipmates together so there was no real shock except to learn who crossed the bar since the last reunion. There was no age shock, most of us didn't need name tags as we easily recognized each other. Our MACKINAW is still alive and well and may outlast the lot of us.
If your ship is still in commission make her the center piece of your reunion. If your ship is a museum like the TANEY, make her the centerpiece of your reunion even though she can't get underway.
This is the commonality that brings us together in a hundred different reunions. The most successful involve our beloved ships.
FROM THE SHIPS OFFICE
Officers and Board Members of the Coast Guard Sea Veterans of America:
Larry Stefanovich - Chairman of the Board/President
Rod C. Jernigan - Vice President
Commodore Ken Long - Secretary-Treasurer
Dennis Streng - Historian
James Duffield - Director
Donald Van Horn - Director
Jack A. Eckert - Director
Bobby Padgett - Director
Richard Whelchel - Director
THE SLOP CHEST
Royal Blue Jackets, Winter lining. Same CGSVA logos as the summer style. We need a minimum order of 30. Payable in advance. If the minimum is not met, Money cheerfully refunded Please order ASAP. preferably by OCT 5, 1999
Available Sizes are S. M. L. XL. XXL. XXXL only. $55.95 ea. 2 or more $45.95. S/H $6.00. Send your order to Ken Long, 8042 Avery Lane; Sedro-Woolley, WA 98284-8707. Money Orders Only - Please.
The Coast Guard SeaVets has a number of other items for sale. Call (360) 856-2171 to place your order.
Garrison Cap for the SV Pin - $7.50
Ball Cap C.G.S.V.- $11.00
S.V. Pin - $5.00
S.V Patches - $5.00
The Old Salt's Journal on the Internet
There is an Internet edition of the Old Salt's Journal and it can be found at the following address:
Back Issues are also posted This site can be accessed 24 hours per day. The Internet edition does NOT appear before the printed edition is mailed to the members of the Sea Vets.
Non- Payment of Dues
The President and Secretary have requested that a note be inserted in this edition of the OSJ about dues payment. Several members are in arrears at this time. Membership will lapse and you will be discharged from the organization. We want you on board to help us grow anew.
If your membership lapses, you will have to pay the full initiation and dues of $25.00 to be reinstated in lieu of the $15.00 for re-enlisting.
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 Fall
SUBMISSIONS BEFORE NOVEMBER 1, 1999
Submit all articles and letters for The Old Salt's Journal
c/o Jack A. Eckert, Editor
312 W. Washington Street
Port Washington, Wisconsin 53074
FULL TEXT OF MCPOCG VINCE PATTON'S EMAIL LETTER - From Page One
SENT BY EMAIL
To: SSgt (NAME WITHHELD)
It has been brought to my attention through a number of sources that you recently placed the coin I present as a rewards and recognition item up for bid on the public internet auction eBay. I understand the coin eventually sold for $56.55.
While I should be flattered, impressed and honored that a $2.00 coin with my name on it sold so well, putting me in the ranks of "big named celebrities," instead I find it quite distasteful and inappropriate. What I found most troubling about this whole ordeal is that you, the seller is an active duty Air Force Staff Sergeant stationed at the Pentagon.
Maybe it was your intention was to test circus leader P. T. Barnum's theory that "a sucker is born every minute." Though your decision for whatever reason to sell it on the open market isn't illegal or a violation of the UCMJ, nonetheless just the mere thought of knowing about this transaction offends me. I recognize there's absolutely nothing that I can do about it. I am sending this email to you directly to give you my personal feelings about this, and that in my opinion you have compromised your own service's core values of INTEGRITY, SERVICE BEFORE SELF and EXCELLENCE.
Your selling of not only my coin, but others you have done in the past, and the ones you are presently advertising on eBay, degredates what I believe to be the priceless value that has been placed on the whole meaning of using coins as recognition presentations by myself, my senior enlisted counterparts - Sergeant Major of the Army Bob Hall, Sergeant Major of the Marine Corps Al McMichael, Master Chief Petty Officer of the Navy Jim Herdt, and your own Chief Master Sergeant of the Air Force Jim Finch, along with senior officers, senior enlisted of all of the U. S. and foreign military services who view the value and presentation of these coins are not to be treated like baseball trading cards. Although I cannot speak for them on how they feel about having their coins up for sale, knowing my counterparts
personally, I would imagine they too would have similar view as I on how these coins are treated and presented.
I don't know how you received the coin, nor does it matter. My position here is I am not questioning your possession or ownership of it, which is why I am not referring to the coin you have sold as "mine," even though my name is on it. Perhaps you traded for it, or it was given to you, or you bought it - or maybe I may have presented it to you for recognition of some sort. Again, like I said, it doesn't matter how you received it,nor am I interested.
I want to also make something perfectly clear to you, I have never referred to my coins as "challenge coins." There are not intended to be handed out just so people can sit at a bar, and attempt to hold "challenge rounds to buy drinks with." These coins are presented as a symbol for personal recognition to individuals in the performance of their duty. I not only present them to Coast Guard members, but they have gone to members of any U.S. and foreign military service, as well as civilians, volunteers, and others who in some way or another have captured my attention in how they have inspired others or demonstrated pride and professionalism worthy of some form of personal recognition. That is the main reason on the back of the coin, it is boldly inscribed, "Presented by MCPOCG Vince Patton."
In fact, I have recently recognized many of your fellow Air Force personnel through the presentation of my coins. I wonder how the Air Force Senior Master Sergeants who recently graduated from our Coast Guard Chief Petty Officer Academy, or one of this year's GEICO Award winner, USAF SSgt Carl McCoy who volunteered his personal time conducting drug and alcohol awareness programs for children would feel if they knew one of their own fellow airmen doesn't think much of the Air Force core value of "SERVICE BEFORE SELF." Even your own Air Force Chief of Staff General Ryan, and your Chief Master Sergeant of the Air Force, Jim Finch has been presented a coin by me. I wonder if you hold a similar dollar value interest in their coins, rather than the thought of appreciation as they have presented them to others.
This morning I had written a letter of appreciation to four Coast Guard members who were involved in a daring rescue case off the coast of New Jersey near Atlantic City, where the boat coxswain, a Petty Officer Third Class (E-4), made a daring attempt to save a woman and child's life by beaching his boat as a way to save time to get the woman to the hospital. The daring attempt was quite risky, but he and his crew only thought of saving a life. They each received a coin along with my personal thanks for their exhibiting our service's core value of "DEVOTION TO DUTY." I wonder what they would think knowing that someone feels the symbol of their performance is for sale. in all we do, Loyalty, and Personal Courage - all go with some passion and emotion in the presentation of the coins.
I cannot tell you what to do, and I have no intention of interfering with your enterprise. I felt it was important for me to tell you how I feel about it, as my name is being openly used, and ensure that you understand that your practice of selling these coins can have a dramatic effect on other fellow military members. If nothing else, understand that these words and phrases, Honor, Courage, Commitment, Respect, Duty [Devotion to Duty], Integrity, Selfless Service [Service Before Self],Excellence
All of these words and phrases I mentioned above collectively make up the core values of the U. S. Armed Forces, where the word "Honor" is used by the Army, Navy, Marines and Coast Guard, "Respect" and "Duty" is used by the Army and Coast Guard, recognition it"Integrity" and "Selfless-Service" are jointly shared by the Army and Air Force. This justifies my point that all of branches of the military share in defining the conditions of employment of our service and the characteristic makeup of what is expected of its members. These same values will never have a dollar value placed on it. You can sell a coin, medal, or whatever physicalem that can presented - but you'll never sell the values that have been placed in them. That to me makes these very recognition items, worthless.
Maybe I should have some positive view to this as recognition of importance just like sports, political and other public figures have. I didn't take this job to bask in that particular limelight. Like Chief Master Sergeant of the Air Force Finch, my counterparts, and other senior enlisted command chiefs, sergeants majors and master chiefs, we took an oath in the acceptance of our positions to look after the interests of our enlisted members, and to ensure that our people are properly recognized for a job well done. This brings to mind a phrase as one of my former mentors, the late Alex Haley, author of the book "Roots" and a was a retired Coast Guard Chief Petty Officer often said, to "Find the Good and Praise It."
I'll continue to use my coins in the manner of finding the good, and praising it. My service's core values, as are the Army, Marine Corps, Navy and Air Force's are not for sale.
MCPOCG Vincent W. Patton, III
One of the last of the tenders designed and built by the U.S.. Light House Service.
Quick Note From The Prez
An Information page has been added to our website. It is called "Now Here This" Click on and get latest 'poop' on the latest news. We need help on this please contact Ken or myself for input --Larry. http://www.nwlink/~kenlong/cgsva.html
The Old Salt's Journal is published quarterly by the Coast Guard Sea Veterans of America. Unlerss otherwise indicated in the text, the material contained herein is NOT copyrighted and may be reproduced for related uses. It would be appreciated if the author, the Old Salt's Journal, and the Coast Guard Sea Veterans of America are credited in any republication.
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 Tradition!
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.