The shipwreck that changed the Coast Guard forever

Throughout Coast Guard history, the missions of the service have been written in blood. Such was the case with the loss of the 605-foot cargo ship Marine Electric. Marine Electric had passed several marine inspections, including those done by the U.S. Coast Guard, with several discrepancies not noted or recommended. In heavy weather, the ship couldn’t hold up to the crashing waves, flooded and capsized killing 31 of 34 crewmen in the cold Atlantic waters on Feb. 12, 1983. This fatal shipwreck resulted in a revamp of the Coast Guard’s marine safety procedures and establishment of the rescue swimmer program.


Coast Guard Academy First Class Cadet Nicholas Woolfolk poses for a photo outside Hamilton and Chase Hall at the U.S. Coast Guard Academy in New London, Conn., February 2019. U.S. Coast Guard photo by Petty Officer 2nd Class Lauren Laughlin.

Honor, Respect, Devotion to Duty: First Class Cadet Nicholas Woolfolk

Coast Guard Academy First Class Cadet Nicholas Woolfolk, a mechanical enginnering major from Accokeek, Maryland, uses his position as a member of the Coast Guard Academy Leadership Diversity Advisory Council and president of the Genesis Council to help his fellow shipmates feel welcome and appreciated for who they are. Woolfolk takes pride in being a beacon of light on campus, an advocate for love, authenticity and respect. Read more here to learn how Woolfolk means to make his mark on the Academy.


The Long Blue Line: Gun captain and African-American war hero Louis Etheridge

During an escort of Convoy ON-166 from Ireland to the U.S., Chief Steward Louis Etheridge, aboard Coast Guard Cutter Campbell, commanded an 11-man African-American gun crew of stewards, mess attendants and steward mates. On Feb. 22, 1944, Campbell faced-off against German submarine U-606 in which Etheridge and his gun crew decimated the sub’s crew and rendered the U-boat defenseless. Etheridge earned the Bronze Star, the first military medal bestowed on an African-American Coast Guardsman for combat heroism.


(Left to right): Richard Etheridge, Rasmus Midgett and John Allen Midgett's busts stand on the background of North Carolina's Outer Banks. Nicknamed the Graveyard of the Atlantic, these waters have been home to shipwrecks and to rescues performed by members of the Life Saving Service and U.S. Coast Guard. U.S. Coast Guard illustration by Petty Officer 3rd Class Joshua Canup.

Standing the watch over the Graveyard of the Atlantic

For hundreds of years, mariners have nicknamed North Carolina’s Outer Banks the “Graveyard of the Atlantic” based on the history of ships lost in its waters. Even for experienced Coast Guard members, traversing the area can prove a difficult task. However, Coast Guard men and women stand the watch, just as the crews before them did.


The satellite communications ground station sits on the roof of Smith Hall at the U.S. Coast Guard Academy in New London, Conn. The main feature inside the radome is a 3-meter diameter parabolic dish antenna and communications components that ensure proper signals are transmitted to and received from the satellite. U.S. Coast Guard illustration by Petty Officer 2nd Class Lauren Laughlin.

Developing the way for a Coast Guard space program

There is a new landmark at the Coast Guard Academy and it is helping to launch the Coast Guard into an era of space operations.

The satellite communications ground station on the roof of Smith Hall was built by the Coast Guard Research and Development Center to support the Department of Homeland Security Science and Technology Polar Scout project, which successfully launched two CubeSats in December 2018, and will soon support a broad range of educational opportunities for cadets.


Painting of the Escanaba rescue effort by an unknown artist. (U.S. Coast Guard)

The Long Blue Line: Warren Deyampert – African-American rescue swimmer of World War II

In a time of unrest, when U-boats patrolled the icy waters of the North Atlantic, a crew of three bravely volunteered to serve the hazardous duty of rescue swimmer aboard Coast Guard Cutter Escanaba. Second Class Officer’s Steward Warren Deyampert worked on the cutter to develop a system of tethered rescue swimmers that ultimately saved well over 100 lives after an enemy submarine torpedoed U.S. Army transport Dorchester. Despite his secondary status in a segregated service, Deyampert placed the needs of others before his own and was posthumously awarded the Navy & Marine Corps Medal and Purple Heart Medal.


Volunteers from Coast Guard Headquarters pose for a group shot after preparing 210 gift bags at a Gift Drive Packing Party for teens in local communities in Washington, D.C., Dec. 13, 2018. U.S. Coast Guard photo.

Honor, Respect, Devotion to Duty: Holiday Adopt-A-Teen Gift Bag volunteers

Coast Guard Headquarters volunteers put together 210 holiday gift bags for teenagers in low-income families in the D.C. area. Forty volunteers packed, loaded and delivered the gifts to the D.C. Housing Authority to distribute to the community. Programs like the Holiday Adopt-A-Teen Gift Drive highlight the Coast Guard’s values of honor, respect and devotion to duty – caring for and serving our community.


Black and white photo of Buoy Tender Blackthorn. At the time of its sinking the tender was homeported at Galveston, Texas. U.S. Coast Guard photo.

The Long Blue Line: Buoy Tender Blackthorn—lost nearly 40 years but not forgotten

The Coast Guard improved the proficiency and safety of afloat operations after the unfortunate circumstances of the sinking of the Coast Guard Cutter Blackthorn in 1980, as well as the White Alder in 1968 and Cuyahoga in 1978. After 35 years of service, the buoy tender Blackthorn collided with a 600-foot tanker S.S. Capricorn losing 23 of 50 crew members, Jan. 28, 1980. We pause to remember Blackthorn and our lost shipmates nearly 40 years after its sinking.


Chief Petty Officer Paul Taylor, a marine science technician, oversees vessel operations at Pitts Bayou in Panama City, Fla. U.S. Coast Guard Photo by Petty Officer 2nd Class Paul Krug.

Clean-up crew: Facing aftermath from one of Florida’s most destructive hurricanes

The Florida Panhandle experienced pure devastation from Hurricane Michael, Oct. 10, 2018. It ripped through coastal towns and made its way inland, driving people from their homes and leaving thousands without power and fresh water. Relief efforts from federal and state agencies, as well as local and out-of-state volunteers, responded to help displaced survivors. The Coast Guard set up an Incident Command Post in Miramar Beach, Florida, in an effort to remove environmental threats from local waterways.


Gary Thomas, executive director of the Foundation for Coast Guard History's individual achievement award for his service on the tiger naming team to help identify relatives of former enlisted Coast Guard heroes.

Honor, Respect, Devotion to Duty: Cmdr. Bill McKinstry

The Foundation for Coast Guard History presented an individual achievement award to Cmdr. Bill McKinstry for volunteering to serve on the fast response cutter naming tiger team. The team helps identify and locate relatives of former enlisted personnel heroes who were under consideration as possible FRC namesakes.


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