THE PADRE AND THE PORT RUNNING LIGHT
The CGC BALSAM stationed at the U. S. Naval Station at Adak, Alaska in the late ‘60’s was called upon by the Navy from time to time to perform chores for which she was particularly suited. The Navy’s power plant needed seals and gasket material. There was a wreck of a Greek Liberty ship on the rocks at nearby Great Sitkin Island aboard which the Navy assumed could be found what they needed. The BALSAM was requested to take a party to the wreck. When we arrived at the wreck, I gathered all the people who were to board her and explained that nothing aboard the wreck was to be taken except what the Navy felt was vitally needed for their power plant. The wreck essentially belonged to the insurers.
The boat shoved off with a group of people clad in wet suits among which included the Chaplain of the Naval Station, a scuba diver, who had gone along to help. After a few anxious hours they finally returned bearing the materials they wanted, plus a few extras. The Chaplain presented me with the port running light of the “Ekaterini G” .
I protested that I could not accept it because it wasn’t his to give. I got busy with other things and took the ship back to Adak. A few days later the ship departed on a two week Aids to Navigation cruise into the Arctic. I had forgotten the incident until I got home and looked in the garage. There was the port running light! My wife, when confronted, explained that the Chaplain sold it to her for a dollar. Oh well! I still have the running light. It hangs in a tree in my back yard, rusting away.
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Commander Doan tells me the Adak Naval Station is for sale. I wouldn't bid a wrinkled, worn out, dollar bill for it. - Jack