With the National Hockey League’s Stanley Cup Playoffs heating up we bring you the story of the World War II-era Coast Guard Cutters, described by hockey historian Stan Fischler as “a team of brawling and boisterous sailors who knew how to win.”
This month marks the 70th anniversary of a decisive victory for the predecessor of Coast Guard Cutter Spencer. In the uncertain days of World War II, the Coast Guard-manned USS Spencer steamed alongside convoy ships maintaining long lines of food, men and war machines destined for the front lines of Europe. These ships faced a new, elusive enemy: U-boats. These submarines harassed the Allies’ supply lines, attacking at night and vanishing just as quickly. The crew of Spencer lived under constant threat of attack.
Last week, Admiral Papp attended an announcement by the City of New London, Conn., and the National Coast Guard Museum Association to formally unveil the design and location for the proposed National Coast Guard Museum.
It’s no secret the remote but vibrant Aleutian city of Unalaska is home to many treasures of Coast Guard lore, yet one of the most prominent would seem unlikely: A piano. This piano is so important the crew from Coast Guard Cutter Munro gathered in their service dress blues at the house of City Councilwomen Zoya Johnson just to see it. Johnson generously opened her home so guests could gather around the piano keys and give a showing of the Coast Guard’s hymn, “Semper Paratus.” The musical selection was not only fitting for the company; it was on Johnson’s piano, in the Summer of 1926, that “Semper Paratus” was first composed!
The origin of Women’s History Month as a national celebration began nearly 120 years before the first Hispanic-American woman served in the Coast Guard and its predecessor services. Maria Mestre de los Dolores Andreu assumed the watch as the lighthouse keeper at the St. Augustine Lighthouse after her husband, Juan, passed away in 1859. With a yearly salary of $400 she not only became the first Hispanic-American woman to serve in the Coast Guard but also to command a federal shore installation.
The Coast Guard is in his blood. Caleb Gaudian is a few weeks away from shipping to Coast Guard Basic Training. He won’t have much time in boot camp to ruminate on what brought him here, but his family history is rich with Coast Guard adventure.
As one of the service’s newest cutters, Coast Guard Cutter Richard Etheridge has many striking features, but the one feature that stands out the most is the cutter’s nameboard. The polished longleaf heart pine bears the life story of the cutter’s namesake, donated from the structure of the Etheridge family homestead in Manteo, N.C. It also represents the collective efforts of the ship’s sponsor, an Etheridge family member, the cutter’s crew, the cutter project office and the shipyard. Together they fused the legacy of a Coast Guard cutter, a hero and his heritage.
This blog entry comes from a recruit who attended the building dedication aboard Training Center Cape May for Petty Officer 3rd Class Nathan Bruckenthal, who died during combat operations off the coast of Iraq. The ceremony was held today, the 13th anniversary of Bruckenthal’s graduation from basic training. Seaman Recruit Johnson was tasked with holding Bruckenthal’s company flag. Johnson’s company was also in attendance to the ceremony and they recited The Coast Guard Ethos. This is his story from that day.
It was the eve of Coast Guard Cutter Robert Yered’s commissioning. The decks were abuzz with anticipation as the crew was just hours away from taking their months of training to the sea. The Coast Guard’s fourth fast response cutter – with its impressive array of capabilities and state-of-the-art technology – will be a sentinel on the shores of our nation. But this sentinel will also be a symbol of valor; the valor of Engineman 1st Class Robert Yered.
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.