One of Chatham’s Curtiss R-9 float planes on the beach. This may have been the aircraft flown by Eaton to attack German submarine U-156. (Courtesy of the San Diego Air & Space Museum)

The Long Blue Line: Phil Eaton–The Coast Guard’s Winged Warrior of WWI

The first German submarine operations on U.S. waters took place not in World War II, but during World War I. With responsibility to guard the coast, the U.S. Coast Guard had several encounters with these early U-boat attacks, including those of U-156. Coast Guard aviator Lt. Philip Eaton played an important role in this battle.