Coxswain Robert “Bob” Canavan

The Long Blue Line: Coxswain Bob Canavan’s deadly odyssey on Iron Bottom Sound, Guadalcanal

In August 1942, during the initial stages of the World War II’s Guadalcanal campaign, the waters of Iron Bottom Sound concealed numerous Japanese submarines. Coast Guard-manned landing crafts carried out nightly anti-submarine patrols to defend against this silent but deadly menace. Coxswain Robert “Bob” Canavan volunteered to pilot one of the anti-submarine patrol boats along with three other Coast Guardsmen and two U.S. Marines. Only one man would return from the journey.


Own the plank graphic by U.S. Coast Guard Chief Petty Officer Nick Ameen

National Coast Guard Museum offers plank ownership

Being named a plankowner in the nautical realm means you are part of a ship’s original crew, serving during the building process and commissioning, bringing it into active service to the nation. The National Coast Guard Museum, which aims to respect the past, engage the present and look to the future, is respecting the past by creating an original plankowner certificate for its supporters.


Arcturus, one of several early Coast Guard amphibian aircraft given names rather than numeric designations. It was on board Arcturus that von Paulsen earned the first Gold Lifesaving Medal awarded for an aviation search and rescue mission. Photo courtesy of the U.S. Coast Guard Aviation Association.

The Long Blue Line: Carl Christian von Paulsen – Coast Guard aviation pioneer and war hero

The story of von Paulsen’s career is a lesson in adapting to change and getting the job done with the assets at hand. From his native Montana, he traveled to the four corners of the world. He also fought two world wars and a war against the Rum Runners, and he helped save countless lives.


During World War II, Coast Guard personnel would take every precaution, including checking the condition of fire hoses, in the event that fire broke out on the docks. (USCG Photo)

The Long Blue Line: S.S. El Estero and the Coast Guard’s rescue of New York City (Part 2)

We continue the story of El Estero, the greatest man-made disaster in American history that never happened.


El Estero

The Long Blue Line: S.S. El Estero and the Coast Guard’s rescue of New York City (Part 1)

The terms “Pearl Harbor,” “9-11,” and “Katrina” conjure up disastrous images for many Americans. But, how many have ever heard the name “El Estero”? To New Yorkers in particular, this term should strike a chord. It was the greatest man-made disaster in American history that never happened.


Cutter Tamaroa (WMEC-166) underway in relatively calm conditions. U.S. Coast Guard photo.

The Long Blue Line: Cutter Tamaroa and ‘The Perfect Storm’

This year marks the 25th anniversary of “The Perfect Storm,” also known as the “Halloween Nor’easter” because it struck in late October 1991. It was the third major weather event to hit the East Coast in an unusually active month. By October 28, two large weather systems collided off the East Coast. Hurricane Grace had formed the day before and was moving from the southeast on course for an un-named extra-tropical cyclone. The two weather systems spawned a much larger and more powerful storm. By October 30, National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration data buoys reported sustained winds of over sixty miles per hour with gusts well over 70 mph, and waves as high as 40 feet.


Dexter’s men and landing craft kept critically needed supplies flowing to the First Marine Division on Guadalcanal. U.S. Navy photo.

The Long Blue Line: Dwight Dexter with the first Marines at Guadalcanal

If any battle marked the turning point of World War II in the Pacific, most experts agree that the six-month land, sea and air battle for Guadalcanal was the one. American naval strategists drew a line in the sand at Guadalcanal because enemy aircraft flying from that island could cut-off Allied supply lines to Australia. During the Guadalcanal offensive, the U.S. Coast Guard served an important role through its specialties in maritime transport, amphibious landing and small boat operations. On ‘the Canal,’ the Coast Guard worked seamlessly with its U.S. Navy and U.S. Marine Corps counterparts and, for the first time in its history, commanded and manned a U.S. Naval Operating Base, or NOB. Coast Guard Lt. Cmdr. Dwight Hodge Dexter commanded NOB “Cactus,” the code name for Guadalcanal’s naval base.


feature photo

The Long Blue Line: Harry Claiborne—Light Keeper and Lifesaver

For years, the U.S. Life-Saving Service boasted the unofficial motto of “You have to go out, but you don’t have to come back.” This phrase refers to the fact that Life-Saving Service personnel often braved the worst sea and weather conditions to save the lives of others–many of them lost their own lives in the process. Such was the case in the Great Galveston Hurricane of 1900, the worst natural disaster in U.S. history.


Photograph of newly commissioned National Security Cutter Alexander Hamilton (WMSL-753), the sixth Coast Guard cutter to bear the name. U.S. Coast Guard photo.

The Long Blue Line: Alexander Hamilton – first member of the long blue line

Considered the father of the United States Coast Guard, Hamilton played an integral role in the formation and development of the government of the United States. When the new government got under way in 1789, Hamilton was appointed the first Secretary of the Treasury. He began at once to place the nation’s disorganized finances on a sound footing. In addition, he was the driving force behind Congress’ creation of a revenue marine service, the precursor to the modern-day Coast Guard.


The Long Blue Line

The Long Blue Line: Domenic Calicchio – Champion of marine safety regulations

Domenic A. Calicchio was one of the U.S. Coast Guard’s many unsung heroes whose career embodied the Service’s core values of honor, respect and devotion to duty. The Coast Guard’s Inspections & Investigation School named the Calicchio Award for him due to the significant impact he had on the U.S. marine industry and the Coast Guard as a senior marine casualty investigator.


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