Shipmate of the Week – Mike Hagerman

Coast Guard veteran Mike Hagerman aboard Coast Guard Cutter Spencer. U.S. Coast Guard photo.

Coast Guard veteran Mike Hagerman aboard Coast Guard Cutter Spencer. U.S. Coast Guard photo.

Written by Ensign Evan Strathman.

On Jan. 15, 1974, the most highly-decorated Coast Guard cutter of its time, Coast Guard Cutter Spencer, pulled into Curtis Bay after her last voyage and decommissioning. With a heave, Petty Officer 3rd Class Michael Hagerman put over the line that brought the mighty ship to her final mooring after a nearly thirty-seven year career.

Thirty-nine years later, Hagerman stood alongside former Coast Guardsman Nick Frank on the bridge of a ship with a different hull but a very familiar name – Spencer.

Coast Guard Cutter Spencer underway. U.S. Coast Guard photo.

Coast Guard Cutter Spencer underway. U.S. Coast Guard photo.

Hagerman and Frank, vice-president and president of the Spencer Association, traveled to the Coast Guard Yard in Baltimore to meet the current Spencer as a part of an ongoing effort to cultivate the linkage between Spencer 36 and Spencer 905.

Upon their arrival, they spent a long time discussing the differences in technology and the great improvements they represent from the previous Spencer. They were, however, most excited to reminisce about the memories they created during their time aboard Spencer. They spoke of the camaraderie among their shipmates and the great times they spent together, both working and relaxing. Life on Spencer 36 was among their most fond memories and an experience that they are very proud to have been a part of.

“Mr. Hagerman seemed to love the memory of being on Spencer 36,” said Petty Officer 3rd Class Henry Reed, current crewmember aboard Spencer. “Listening to him was like listening to a story about life on Spencer 905. Even though there are a lot of new technologies, most of the underway pastimes such as morale bingo and card games still happen.”

Hagerman’s unyielding devotion to the service was evident when he led efforts to retrieve the mast of Spencer 36 from the Intrepid Sea, Air and Space Museum with the goal of having the mast relocated to Training Center Cape May. His efforts were successful and the mast now stands in close proximity to Douglas Munro’s memorial at the training center, representing the link in Spencer’s history as the cutter upon which Douglas Munro – the Coast Guard’s only Medal of Honor recipient – spent his very first tour.

Cutter Spencer's mast at Training Center Cape May. U.S. Coast Guard photo.

Cutter Spencer’s mast at Training Center Cape May. U.S. Coast Guard photo.

New recruits now have a visible reminder to broaden their understanding of the Coast Guard’s rich history. Hagerman’s work will forever link Coast Guard generations with a greater knowledge and appreciation of the prominent place Spencer 36 has in Coast Guard history.

“When I was at Cape May, I learned about Douglas Munro and his contribution to Coast Guard history,” said Seaman Douglas Neeson, a Spencer crewmember. “Knowing that the mast standing behind his memorial at Cape May was from the first ship he served on makes me proud to be a part of Spencer 905’s crew.”

“At Cape May Douglas Munro was one of the biggest historical Coast Guard figures that we learned about,” said Seaman Collin Mix, a Spencer crewmember. “Knowing that I am on the Spencer now and being able to carry on the legacy makes me happy.”

Hagerman’s work is a result of the special bond formed among shipmates, a bond that transcends time and remains the same today among the crew of Spencer. The ongoing dedication and pride Hagerman displays in his role with the Spencer Association and his work to improve the Coast Guard in any way that he is able are representative of the attributes of a great shipmate.

Do you know a Shipmate that has done something great for the service, the missions or the public? Please submit your nominations using the “Submit Ideas” link on the right.

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