One year, five years, twenty-five years, and even fifty years later all of us can look back on our time in the Coast Guard and find people we would like to thank for helping us along. Even if they have departed this earth it is still not too late to thank them. That is the purpose of this page ............................

THE THANK YOU PAGE

Think about your own time in the Coast Guard. Look back and see who you would like to thank. Email Jack (jeckert@execpc.com) and it will be posted on this page, last received, first printed. It is not too late to thank someone.

Updated August 07, 2001

Jack, as you well know its difficult to place the thanks in the proper place for your young life until you get older and reflect back. As a Machinist Mate, most of my mentors have passed away. Most would not believe that they were such an inspiration in a life, after all they were only doing their job.

Looking backward from 1998 to 1958-60 -- Gary E. Hodge, CWO3, USCG RET.

MMC Pappy Ingalls - CGC Chautaqua -1958 - A kind fellow that always was sitting on the hand rail by the ladder leading to the engine room. At the time, I thought he was old as I an 18 year old fireman who thought they were all old. He had the patience of Job and was always in the engineroom or the ship's store, which was his by longevity. Chief Ingalls only lost his cool with me twice as I remember and that was a record for those I served with for less than a year. I learned from him, no matter how stupid they act, give them a little time and gentle instruction, they too can become an asset to the ship. Admit your mistakes and learn from them, do not make the same mistake twice. I never saw Pappy again after leaving Honolulu in 1960, I will never forget him and I am not the only one.

MMCM Milton John Ayes - CGC Winnebago - 1959 - Chief Ayes worked hard and partied hard. His normal work hours in port were from day break to midnight. He once asked me if I really wanted to learn how to be a great Machinist Mate and get a crow on my arm. In a moment of sheer terror and in the shadow of this very large man, I said "yes." His plan was for me to work along side of him, learning as we went and at $72 a month I really had no where to go. Long hard hours became my way of life. He took me on the town with him after we quit at midnight and we would stay out till three or four. I could count on him being beside my rack at 0530 in the morning, lifting my rack, taking the chains off, it and letting it go, saying "if you want to be a bum, don't get up. If you want to be a Machinist Mate, follow me." I was proud at the end of my 12 months with him to be able to sew the second chevron beneath the crow he insisted I earn.

Jack, this is a terrific idea. Sure, I would like to add to your page.

Looking backward from 1984 to 1958 - Bobby Padgett, RMCM, USCG(ret)

1960 - RM1 Alfred Tuthill at Radio Station Miami - took me under his wings fresh out of Radioman School. Insisted everything I did be done strictly by the book. He took a scared kid right out of Radioman School and turned me into a Radioman. Thanks Al.

1970 - BMCM Norm Hamlin onboard CGC Southwind. I came aboard as a boot Chief with no shipboard experience as a Chief. Norm was the senior enlisted man on board and his outstanding leadership helped me become a better Chief. Norm has since passed away, but I want to thank him for making the transition so much easier for me.

Jack, these are the two main ones I'd like to thank. Once you reach RMC and above, you're pretty much on your own as far as anyone helping. By then, it's our turn to help someone else.

Looking Backward to 1959-1963 AT3 Jerold Wanek

Jack, I also think this is a great Idea.

With respect to the many fine Officers and Enlisted with whom I served during my four short years in the USCG 1959-63 I could name many.

1962 - CAPT Fred Merritt (Retired) CO of Air Station Elizabeth City.

I was stationed with CAPT Merritt when he was a LCDR at CGAS Elizabeth City and again when he was a CDR and Exec at CGAS Brooklyn. He came up through the ranks and retired as CO of Air Station Elizabeth City.

I think a good way to describe him is as Mr. Coast Guard. He could be very "hard nosed" about certain things but you never found a more reasonable and fair man as long as you didn't try to make excuses for some dumb thing you might have done. Some personnel didn't care for his methods, but he was always fair. He treated everyone the same from SA to a CDR. If you had a "chewing out" coming he could do it no matter what your rank. However at the same time he was the first to give you a pat on the back and give you a well done. As far as his ability as a fixed wing and Helicopter pilot, I feel he ranked at the top of the list. He called me on the carpet a couple of times. He always listened to my side of the story. Both times he had the courtesy to listen to what I had to say and both times he reversed his decision even though he was the one wearing the three wide gold stripes on his arm and I was wearing a single crow. Thanks Captain, you taught me fairness.

[1962] AM1 Paul Pack -Air Station Elizabeth City.

When I knew Paul he was an Aviation Metalsmith First Class.

Paul was an ex-Navy submariner. He wanted to change rates but the Navy refused to grant his wish so he quit the Navy and joined the Coast Guard. Paul had kids that were as old or older than some of us young squirts. As the Coast Guard didn't have Chaplains some of the younger guys that came up with personnel problems could always turn to Paul. He earned the nickname "Daddy Pack" from some of the guys because he represented a father figure to those who just sometimes needed someone to talk to about their problems. This was in the early 60's before the days of desegregation. Paul was black, but no matter the color of your skin, he always had a lending ear and a word of good fatherly advice. I understand Paul is no longer with us, but he is remembered by many. Thank you Paul, I will always remember your good influence.

 [1962] ALC Nate Caddy - Air Station Elizabeth City.

Nate was a ALC when I knew him at CGAS Elizabeth City.

He was an easy going type of guy. Every new Coast Guardsman who checked into the Electronics shop was greeted by Nate. He always took you under his wing until you got to know the ropes. Every time a conversation came up regarding the Electronics shop at Elizabeth City, Nate's name was always is included because of his influence on the new young guys. Thanks Nate, you made us feel at home in the Coast Guard.

 

On November 16, 1998 it will be fifty years since I left home to join the U.S. Coast Guard. I am taking the liberty at this late stage in my life to look backward 50 years and thank the ten people who most influenced my Coast Guard career. There were others but these men stand out. Please forgive an old man in his dotage.

LOOKING BACKWARD 1998 TO 1948 - LCDR Jack A. Eckert, USCG (Retired)

[1949] - BMC(L) Cleo B. Faulkingham, OinC, Merrimac River Lifeboat Station, Newburyport, Massachusetts - As a "boy" of 17 I didn't really know what a real professional was, I had never met one. If I were to line up ALL of the CPO's that I ever knew in both the Coast Guard and the Navy he would be number one. I had a healthy respect for him with a slight element of fear when I worked under him. He was a stern taskmaster but fair to a fault. He neither smoked nor drank and the strongest oath I ever heard him use was, "Judas Priest." It was only in later years, looking backward and being able to put things into proper perspective that I appreciated his professionalism. He is gone now but the World is a better place because of what he quietly contributed. I wish I would have had the maturity at the time to appreciate him as I do today. Many times since those early days have I asked myself what THE Chief would have done given the circumstances. Thanks Chief, You were the role model I looked up to as I grew older but could never be.

[1950] - ENC Charlie McCarthy, CGC McCulloch (WAVP-386), Boston, Massachusetts - A Chief of the "old school" who taught me that everybody didn't like me. One of two or three people in my life who I found to be totally intolerable and who considered me the same. There was never a real reason that I could fathom leading this man to single me out as he did. Usually there is an event or series of events that lead up to a poor relationship but in this case it started the moment we met. He taught me to be on the look out for people like him and give them wide berth. Thanks Chief, you began my maturing process.

[1951] - BM1 Richard Kilroy, CGC Evergreen (WAGL-295) Boston, Massachusetts - Kilroy was the best pure shipboard Boatswains Mate that I ever met. He looked like a Boatswains Mate, his uniform, even his dungarees, were always pressed and neat. He wore his bosun's pipe proudly around his neck and knew how to use it. He was tough but gentle with the seamen in his charge. He used the sailor's tongue proficiently. In later years I always quietly looked for BM's that could measure up to his stature, knowledge and professionalism. I have never met a man who exemplified his trade like he did. I am proud to have known him. Thanks Kilroy, you showed me the powers of Coast Guard pride.

[1958] - LT J.P. Hratko, OinC, Engineman School, CG Training Station, Groton, Connecticut - "Joe" and I call him that affectionately was a difficult person to get to know. He was a real loner. He was a perfectionist who changed the training methods used to prepare Enginemen and who's methods are used today in the MK school. The first day I met him he told me I didn't look like an Engineman. Over time he gave me my head and let me develop into a better petty officer and a competent instructor. His guidance led me to OCS. He showed me how to do it and supported me all of the way. He is gone now and I pray he has found the happiness in the hereafter that he never had on this earth. Thanks Joe you showed me what I had to do to improve myself and provided me the environment to do it in. Say hello to Alex Haley up there, he worked for you too.

[1961] - CDR John Day, CO, CCG Escanaba (WPG-64) New Bedford, Massachusetts - He was my first CO out of OCS. He was without a doubt the best ship handler that I ever sailed under. He was a stern taskmaster who demanded the most out of his crew. As an avid sailor he would be out with his sailboat on Buzzard's Bay the same day the ship got in off of a weather patrol. He forced me by example to become a commissioned officer in those first early critical years. This was as difficult transition for me as it is to most. He departed this world a year or so ago. I only saw him once or twice when we were both in Headquarters nine or ten years later. He was as out of place there as I was. An old "sea dog" who should have never been desk bound. Thanks Captain Day, you gave me my love for the sea although I didn't realize it at the time.

[1965] - CDR Mike Martini, USN, CO Naval Damage Control School, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania - Mike was my CO when I was on duty with the Navy at the NDCTC. He was a highly decorated Navy Mustang Officer who had a high respect for the Coast Guard. He was a wealth of information about the Navy and it's customs which were like, but unlike ours. As far as he was concerned I was not only a Coast Guard Officer but a Naval Officer as well. He helped me more than he realized during the two years that I worked for him. Mike has departed now to the "O" Club in the sky where I can see him with his noon hour martini, holding court. Thanks Mike for showing me a different world and teaching me how to thrive in it.

[1966] - LTJG Robert Armacost, Assistant EO, CGC Cook Inlet(WHEC-386) Portland, Maine - Bob was the smartest and probably the best all around Coast Guard Officer I ever knew. When he worked for me I never questioned what he did; it was always right. Our paths had crossed before the "Cooky Cutter" and several times after. I once jokingly said to him that he would never make Admiral, he was too smart. Unfortunately Bob retired after a minimum 20 years as a Commander at the request of his family and became a college professor. The Coast Guard lost the best prospective Commandant it had since Admiral Roland. Thanks Bob for letting me be your boss for a little while and for being a friend for so many years.

[1971] - DCC Ray Wells, XPO, Ships Training Detachment 3, Alemeda, California - Ray was there when I arrived in 1971. With the concurrence of my superiors in Pacific Area I drastically changed the program. Without Ray's able assistance and complete cooperation this would never have been accomplished. I realize how difficult it is for people to accept change and he thrived on it. I was very sad to see him leave when his tour of duty was up but his legacy remained. He really did well interfacing with the personnel we were training and he led the remainder of the team in implementing the program. I regret having lost track of him. Thanks Ray you showed me what loyalty and adaptability was all about.

[1973] - BMCM Franklin Gaines, OinC CGC Point Stuart, San Diego, California - A fine Master Chief Petty Officer and a superb boat handler. It was his boat that set the standard for how 82 footers should be operated and I spread his philosophies far and wide. Frank was very professional in his dealings with everyone and had that rare quality of a good human touch. It is more than coincidence that I dealt with the two best chiefs at the beginning and towards the end of my career. Frank taught me a lot and I appreciate it. After he retired he owned and operated a small boat operator's school in San Diego. Thanks Frank, you may not have known it for the several years we dealt with each other but you were a mentor to me. In those days the Pt. Stuart had the roadrunner painted on the flag bag. I asked Frank, "why that character?" He answered, "He's a winner, Wile E. Coyote is a loser. We are winners around here." I will never forget that.

 While this is fresh in your mind, take some time and send in a paragraph or two naming who you want to thank and the reasons why. The format shown above works well. They will be published here for all to see.

 

 

email JACK

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