Photograph of the 165-foot cutter Icarus. (U.S. Coast Guard)

The Long Blue Line: Icarus – WWII combat cutter, OPC namesake

In 1942, the crew of Coast Guard Cutter Icarus, commanded by Lt. Maurice Jester, sank German U-352 off the coast of North Carolina. Shortly after sinking, the Coast Guard crew rescued 33 survivors of the 48-man crew – they were the first enemy combatants captured by U.S. forces in World War II. The cutter was decommissioned in 1948 but will soon live on as the namesake of the sixth in the first flight of Offshore Patrol Cutters in the “Heritage”-class.

Tony Agresta, second from right, plays the trumpet with a band. Photo courtesy of the Agresta family.

A big band coastie and his Italian prisoners go to town in WWII

This is a story of a young seaman during WWII who befriended POWs over Betty Gable movies, played trumpet in the United States Coast Guard orchestra band in Charleston, South Carolina, and spent his later years performing with the likes of Duke Ellington and Tommy Dorsey. It’s not a story well-known, but a story worth knowing.

Pritchard’s Grumman Duck in the icy waters of Greenland before taking flight on his final rescue mission. (U.S. Coast Guard)

The Long Blue Line: Pritchard and Bottoms – Last of the Coast Guard’s MIAs

Like many selfless Coast Guardsmen, Lt. John Pritchard and Petty Officer First Class Benjamin Bottoms, a radioman, went in harm’s way to save lives only to sacrifice their own. During World War II, the Coast Guard ran the Greenland theatre of operations. It was one of the war’s deadliest battlegrounds, where men fought not only the enemy, but the elements as well.

U.S. Coast Guard Lt. Akaninyene Inyang proudly bears the U.S. Army 333rd Field Artillery Battalion flag in the annual U.S. Memorial Wereth ceremony in Wereth, Belgium, April 28, 2018. The ceremony honors the 11 African-American soldiers killed by Nazi SS troops at the Battle of the Bulge in World War II. U.S. Coast Guard photo.

U.S. Coast Guard in Belgium! Why?

On April 28, 2018, members of the U.S. Coast Guard Activities Europe attended the annual U.S. Memorial Wereth ceremony in Wereth, Belgium, to honor 11 African-American soldiers murdered by Nazi SS troops during the second day of the Battle of the Bulge. Each year members of the U.S. armed forces throughout Europe, including many members of U.S. Coast Guard Activities Europe, gather in the tiny hamlet of Wereth, Belgium, to help honor and pay respect to the 11 G.I.s from the U.S. Army 333rd Field Artillery Battalion and all African-American G.I.s who fought in Europe during WWII.

An American periscope photograph of USS Big Horn on its first weather patrol. Only one of five big guns are visible from a submarine perspective; four of them hide behind false bulkheads. Photo courtesy of Coast Guard retired Cmdr. Douglas L. Jordan.

The Long Blue Line: USS Big Horn – the Coast Guard’s “Q-Ship”

USS Big Horn was one of the only Q-Ships to serve in the U.S. Coast Guard performing combat missions, weather patrols and tanker duty. The ship and its crews marked a truly unique chapter in Coast Guard history.

The Long Blue Line: Maurice Jester

The Coast Guard recently released the names of the newest Fast Response Cutters to be commissioned. Each FRC is named after a Coast Guard hero. One such Coast Guardsman is Maurice Jester, a WWII hero.

A 110-year-old Solomon Scout veteran prepares to lay a wreath during the Solomon Scouts and Coastwatchers Memorial during 75th Anniversary of the Battle for Guadalcanal ceremonies at Honiara, Guadalcanal in the Solomon Islands, Aug. 7, 2017. Solomon Scouts and Coastwatchers provided invaluable support and aid to the Allied effort during World War II. U.S. Coast Guard photo by Petty Officer 2nd Class Tara Molle.

Honoring the 75th anniversary of Douglas Munro’s actions at Guadalcanal

Today we reflect on the 75th anniversary of the attack on Guadalcanal and the heroic efforts of Signalman First Class Douglas Munro.

The Long Blue Line: Coast Guard Cutter Campbell, part 2

In this continuation of Coast Guard Cutter Campbell’s story, Campbell and its crew survive a glancing blow from a Nazi-manned U-boat. The cutter’s 46-year career spanned WWII, the Korean and Vietnam wars and housed one of the most famous Coast Guard mascots in the service.

Month of the Military Child: Memories from two Coast Guard kids

Every year in April, we commemorate the Month of the Military Child, recognizing military children whose resilience, commitment and sacrifices help make their parents’ service to our nation possible. Let us not only honor the current generation of military children, but let’s honor them all. What follows is a blog post written by the daughter of the late Chief Warrant Officer Frederick Mann, a WWII veteran and Silver Star recipient for his heroic actions at Guadalcanal.

Honor, Respect, Devotion to Duty: Capt. Joseph Mazzotta

The Great Depression was a time in America when people, who were jobless and hungry, turned to things like bootlegging, or hopping into a boxcar and riding a train off into the uncertainty of the West in the hopes to get lucky and finding a job. It was during this time that a 17-year-old in New Jersey native turned to the sea for opportunity, not to catch fish, but to save lives. Joseph Mazzotta enlisted in the Coast Guard as a Second Class Seaman, not knowing he was signing up for an adventurous career that would carry him through the ranks to become a captain, a football star and weave him through historic events to become part of the fabric of Coast Guard history.

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