This month’s commemoration of women’s history highlights the achievements of women in the Coast Guard and celebrates their qualities of character, courage and compassion. The Coast Guard is unique among others in that women joined the professional ranks in the Lighthouse Service decades before the Civil War. They were typically hired when their husbands or fathers, who were the keepers, fell ill or passed away. But there were a few who obtained an appointment in their own right.
Children grow up aspiring to become astronauts, police officers and doctors. For some, the decision is hard to make. For others, the choice is easy – the decision to serve their country and be a part of a mission designed to safeguard its communities. Coast Guardsmen were all children at one time and have made the decision and commitment to serve. The Coast Guard is comprised of citizens willing to raise their right hand and commit to serving their country’s water.
The Coast Guard’s Pacific Tactical Law Enforcement Team was embarked aboard the U.S. Navy destroyer USS Kidd in support of the Oceania Maritime Security Initiative and the Western and Central Pacific Fisheries Commission. Together, with their defense partners, the six-member law enforcement team led fisheries enforcement programs designed to assist Pacific island nations with bolstering their economies through the management and protection of vital fish stocks. Due to the historic significance of the South Pacific, these servicemembers thought about the magnitude of their setting; they were transiting waters that were host to some of the most famous battles in U.S. military history.
National African American History Month, celebrated in the U.S. during February, is an international annual observance for the remembrance of important people and events in the history of the African people living outside the continent of Africa. The Coast Guard honors those who have faced adversity and overcome not just this month, but every month as Coast Guardsmen face peril in emergency situations every day keeping our waters safe.
Capt. Winslow Buxton is 100 years young today! Living in Bellevue, Wash., he remains affable, pert and active. He was born in New London, Conn., and attended the Coast Guard Academy from 1934 to 1938. Before the war he served as deck officer aboard Coast Guard Cutter Mojave and executive officer of Coast Guard Cutter Tallapoosa, working on search and rescue cases out of Key West, Fl. In honor of his birthday, Coast Guard historian Dr. Dave Rosen sat down with Buxton as the veteran recounted his WWII adventures.
Commissioned in 1944, Blackthorn began her service as a seagoing buoy tender, served as a Great Lakes ice breaker, and soon afterwards patrolled the warmer waters off California, eventually serving Gulf ports in Galveston, Texas, and Mobile, Ala. Refurbishment brought the ship to Tampa Bay for her final, fateful voyage. Today, Blackthorn’s legacy lives on.
Jacob Lauri Arthur Poroo was a Hospital Corpsman 1st Class who was stationed at Adak Island, Alaska. On the morning of June 2, 1968, he entered a burning cabin to attempt a rescue. When fire erupted about 3: 30 a.m., it engulfed the doorway of the old recreation building. Poroo, together with seven other men, successfully escaped. Hearing shouting and believing it to be a cry for help from a trapped companion, Poroo re-entered the flaming cabin to render assistance with complete disregard for his own safety.
Master Chief Petty Officer Donald H. Horsley served the Coast Guard though 44 years of continuous service from age 17 to 62, enlisting Aug. 4, 1942. He served on active duty for 44 years, four months and 27 days. His career spanned three wars and saw service aboard 34 vessels.
Benjamin B. Dailey was the keeper of the Cape Hatteras Lifeboat Station on Dec. 22, 1885, when he and his crew, assisted by Keeper Patrick H. Etheridge of the Creed’s Hill station, rescued nine men from the foundering ship Ephraim Williams, five miles off the Outer Banks. Those aboard Ephraim Williams were distraught and hungry, having been battered by the weather for more than 90 hours. In one of the most daring rescues by the Life-Saving Service, Dailey’s seven-man crew pulled for two hours through heavy seas to reach the vessel. Only by relying on his expert boat-handling skills was Dailey able to bring all the survivors and his own crew back safely.
On Dec. 21, 1900, the schooner Jennie Hall had run aground in a severe winter storm off the coast of Virginia Beach, Va. Upon notification of the grounding, the Dam Neck Station Life-Saving Station keeper, Bailey T. Barco proceeded to the scene and took command. Realizing the use of the surfboat was dangerous, if not impossible, Barco directed the assembling of the beach apparatus and soon a breeches buoy had delivered all but one of the survivors to safety.