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04 August 2015


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As the Coasties say regarding rescue work "You have to go out- you don't have to go back."


Amen on that! Many, many mariners made it back to their families because the Coasties were and are on the job.


In WW2 many of them served as coxswains in infantry landing craft at Normandy and throughout the Pacific. They were used to the heavy surf whereas some Navy coxswains were not as there peacetime jobs had been doing liberty runs between ship and pier in a quiet harbor.


Yes, Happy Birthday to the USCG whose mission is grows everyday and whose duties are very well done. A tip of the hat those Men and Women in Blue.
They regulate our Mariners, chase drug runners, care for refugees, inspect vessels, keep our ports open, provide security, provide training, go to war etc etc. and then go out in seas not safe for man.


mike, yea verily. Our coxswains in Naples harbor 1) swamped the Captain's Gig while he was in it by running over the stern, 2) ran over a nuclear attack sub (US), 3) ran over a log, tearing off the propeller shaft, rudder and starting a nice leak. Sailors, including the young Hospital Corps Petty Officer 3rd class who is typing this, barely jumped off while it sank at a nearby pier.


You are so right- as an example, Eddie Albert, the TV and movie star, was an officer who piloted a USCG landing craft at Tarawa- he was awarded the Bronze Star for rescuing, while under heavy fire,several dozen Marines who were stranded off-shore. Colonel Lang may remember him from the movie "Brother Rat'- about life a VMI.



"ran over a log..." I almost had this same experience a couple weeks ago on a fishing jaunt. Fishing with a Yankee, a 3 hour tour. I might just write it up.



The man who taught me how to handle small boats on the Potomac while I was growing up was a Seabee at Tarawa.

Richard Armstrong

This is an absolutely true story. Back in the 1970s The opening title sequence to Hawaii 5O showed a Coast Guard Cutter dramatically cutting through the ways off of Hawaii. A young man in Oklahoma saw that every week and decided before he got out of junior high that he was going to join the Coast Guard and get the hell out of Oklahoma.

After graduating from high school his dream came true he enlisted in the US Coast Guard graduating near the top of his class in advanced training and was all set to begin his new life on the sea which would be as different from life in Oklahoma as it could possibly be.

He was excited the day he received orders for his first permanent change of station. And then his dream was crushed.

His PCS was to the Kerr Waterway - in Oklahoma - 25 miles from the house he grew up in. I'm certain that Neptune was laughing.


--Has the service improved now that we are in the age of GPS and the cell phone? I would think someone could just call in, say "Beam me up, Scotty!", the Coast Guard should be able to nail his location instead of searching forever on the Deep Blue, and everyone lives happily ever after. Or do storms block GPS location / cell phone signals to satellites?

We are just now entering the age of unmanned robot ships, which in hindsight are way obvious. How could robot ships help the peacetime duties of the Coast Guard? What actions should they perform? Thanks.


My dad was a Seabee out there as well. Not sure about Tarawa, he never mentioned it, but he went through Typhoon Cobra (aka Halsey's Storm) and was part of the crew that built the airbases at Tinian.


Quite a list!

We just lost two teenage boys down the coast from us, near Melbourne Florida. They went out of the protected waters that they had been told to stay in. Both boys were very experienced but went to the open ocean and were caught in a bad storm. The boat did not have a locator beacon, about $300. The boat was found capsized. Their remains have not been found.

So, it's situational. Cell phones only go out so far. GPS usually works, weather not being a big factor. I think I can say that if your boat breaks down within range of a cell tower and isn't in danger of foundering, you can probably get located and rescued in good order. There are all kinds of for pay services that rescue boaters in those conditions. I believe there was a reality show based on their antics, down in Miami.

It's when the shit hits the fan that the Coasties earn their pay and reputation. And, depending on how fast that happens, communications may or may not be successful.

Robot ships: I believe they are coming and that they will have to have a pilot take them in to a berth at a pier. So, may be fewer dramatic rescues of crew but then I think about someone hacking into a robot ship's systems and doing whatever with them, it's kind of a scary proposition.

William R. Cumming

Some thoughts. First IMO the Coast Guard should be double in funding and staffing. Second their various missions are both complex and difficult. Thrid, given the removal of the setoff many retired Coast Guard career officer and men retiring after 20 years of service now recieve their full military retirement and full civil service salary. Many of those are now coming to dominate DHS and making it a second career department.

For example, the head of TSA in DHS now retired Coast Guard.

And to be technical the Coast Guard created in 1916 by merger of the REVENUE CUTTER SERVICE and THE COASTAL LIFE SAVING AND RESCUE SERVICE. But hey birthdays and birthdates of organizations important.

And by Presidential Order during declared wars the Coast Guard becomes part of DoD!


WRC, and the expression -"Beat the Rush" originated as a way of saying that a Revenue Cutter, named the Rush, was due to show up and activities that needed to be done without government observation had to be hurried.


Certainly agree with the expansion of the Coast Guard funding.



JL retired as a chief, built a nice cottage on the lower Potomac, which is still there. He also served on the USS Drum (?). Ten hours of depth charging changed his mind of that. He never did talk much about either experience until he was in his '70s.



I was wondering about the two boys in Florida, it made the news here a couple days running - minus the part about the storm, which makes perfect sense. We had a man drown himself in a lake up here going after a hat that blew off his head. They didn't find the body until three days later. Needless to say alcohol was involved and the boat operator just got charged.


Yes indeed. I never realized all that they do until they were the FIRST to rescue people after Katrina.



Boating in the Potomac is no joke even in a larger boat!


Here is a Wiki about the Drum, a WW2 Gato class sub. My dad, my brother and many of my relatives later worked at the same yard she was built in, Portsmouth Naval Ship Yard, in Kittery, Maine.


I'd be inclined as well, after 10 hours of being hammered by depth charges.


Thanks for thoughtful answers. ...Military, and perhaps Coast Guard, is now shaking out actual working robot speedboats/torpedoes/fighter jets etc. but not in production just yet. Military will get them in production usage before civilians. Arbitrary docking would prob. take about five years to solve from starting (already in progress?), interesting problem. I don't see pilots and crew being replaced on merchant ships, the people seem too cheap.

Coast Guard could probably use swarms of small, cheap robot choppers for search; and a large one for rescue. Could send these out in weather that could kill a human pilot; if it fails, oh well.

Robot speedboat gunboats to intercept drug smugglers seems obvious. Run a swarm from one central command boat for hailing and to surrender to.

Dunno what else Coast Guard does. But looks like some good opportunities for improvement.

Thanks again for your thoughts.


My father enlisted in the Coast Guard in December 1941 at the suggestion of a friend who was a former coast guard member. He was 19 when he got to Florida for basic training and was recruited for the Coast Guard baseball team. Dad was in the NY Giants farm system prior to enlisting. As a result he spent the entire WWII traveling around playing baseball against army, navy, marine and air corps teams. There were many excellent major league players in those service teams. It's ironic that his desire to enlist after Pearl Harbor turned into playing baseball which he would have done had there been no war.



I never experienced that hammering but there's nothing like heading out for sea trials after a month long refit and finally hitting the sack for some well earned shut eye after a way too long maneuvering watch only to hear the klaxon sound three times followed by the 1MC announcing "flooding in the torpedo room". Oh, not to mention the simultaneous 40% up angle as we ascended from test depth, the breaking glass from the mid rats hitting the mess decks above along with the hp air tanks emptying into the ballast tanks and various shouts, a few thuds and a little profanity; and one "oh darn". Good times. Bobbing around on the surface in a winter gale a few miles off Montauk point while we recharged the air banks and re-rigged for dive? Not so much.



That's a fact. When they say small craft warning that really does include 10 foot john boats. (Note to my 11 year old self should I ever get sent back in a time machine.....)



The most excitement we had was sailing back to Newport from Charleston, when a sailor on the bridge came on the 1MC, in a voice that only could be described as a duck with its ass being lowered into a Waring blender, and screamed "This is not a drill, this is not a drill, we have a fire warning light in the depth charge locker." The general quarters klaxon followed directly after.

It was only a short in the indicator light circuit but our Captain, who had been an Ensign under Arleigh Burke, told us we went to GQ faster than any crew he had ever seen in the Navy. Quote: I"m damn proud of my hippie sailors. Unquote. This was, of course, the Zumwalt Navy of longish haired sailors.


In the latest Navy news, the new nuclear submarines taken out of service:

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