P.I. !!

By Barry Fisher


A local politician decides to make a Coast Guard operational decision...

In the early 1960's I was officer-in-charge of a lifeboat station on the mid-Atlantic coast. An old 300-foot car ferry had been moved up the bay above the drawbridge over which ran the main access road into the city where my station was located. That fall a hurricane was approaching the area, and the city mayor was concerned that the car ferry would drag anchor and damage the bridge. He called me and told me he wanted me to get up the bay in the station's 44-footer, hook on to the ferry and hold it into the wind during the hurricane. I said "Mayor, have you ever seen a piss-ant pull an elephant?" The mayor, who was well connected politically in Washington, was not happy and told me "Chief, pack your sea bag, you'll be gone in the morning!"

I then called my Group Commander at home and told him he better get a relief for me because I'd be gone by daylight. We discussed the situation and decided to flood the ferry and sink it in shallow water to stabilize it until the storm passed. This was later done, there was no damage from the ferry during the hurricane, and I was not relieved of my command.

Later on the mayor and I attended a Safe Boating Week seminar; and the mayor, like the good politician he was, forced a smile as he shook my hand and thanked me for promoting safe boating in the city.

I went on to serve out my normal tour of duty as OIC of the station and retired in 1974.


BMCS Barry Fisher is a retired Coast Guard Senior Chief Boatswains Mate. Chincoteague, Virginia

(Forwarded to Jack for Chief Fisher by ENC Ralph Elliott and Richard Chenery)

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