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Daily Chronology of Coast Guard History

1 October

2 October

  • 1789-Secretary of the Treasury Alexander Hamilton asked collectors of customs to report on expediency of employing boats for the "security of the revenue against contraband."  Hamilton's interest in such vessels led to his request to Congress to fund the construction of 10 such revenue "boats" the following year, leading to the creation of what is now the U.S. Coast Guard.
  • 2014-The Coast Guard launched several assets in response to a report of a fire on board a natural gas drill platform in Cook Inlet, Alaska. The Coast Guard diverted a Coast Guard Hercules HC-130 crew and an MH-60 Jayhawk helicopter crew to conduct an overflight of the Baker Platform in Cook Inlet, near Nikiski. The Coast Guard also launched the CGC Mustang and the diverted CGC SPAR to the location. A five-mile, no-fly safety zone at 5,000 feet and a two-mile safety zone were established around the platform. All four people aboard the platform were safety evacuated.

3 October

  • 1898-The American barkentine, Wanderinq Jew lost her sails and sprung a leak during the severe hurricane of October 2, approximately 11 miles east by south from the station at Sullivans Island, South Carolina.  On account of distance and frequent heavy rain squalls, she was not sighted by station lookout until 3:30 pm on the following day.  A surfboat was launched and the ship was found abandoned by her crew.
  • 2014-CGC Valiant returned to their homeport Friday at Naval Station Mayport, in Jacksonville, Florida.  During the 52-day deployment, Valiant sailed throughout the Windward Passage and the North Caribbean Sea in support of Operation Southeast Watch.  One port call was made at Port-au-Prince, Haiti. While anchored, Valiant crew hosted the U.S. Ambassador to Haiti, the Honorable Pamela White; the Deputy Chief of Mission to the U.S. Embassy in Haiti, the Honorable Brian Shukan; the Chief of the Haitian Coast Guard, Commissaire Joseph Jean-Marie Wagnac; and other government representatives.  Valiant also responded to a search and rescue case involving a 55-foot fishing vessel, which was adrift and taking on water in the Old Bahama Channel. Valiant escorted the vessel over 100 nautical miles to Ragged Island, Bahamas where it transferred the vessel to a Royal Bahamian Defense Force patrol vessel.  Valiant repatriated 24 Haitian migrants to Cap Haitien, Haiti, and embarked 11 Cuban migrants that had been rescued by the crew of the cruise ship Carnival Liberty. The cutter also patrolled the Windward Passage to prevent overloaded Haitian migrant vessels from taking to sea.

4 October

  • 1918-There was an explosion at the T.A. Gillespie Company munitions yard in Morgan, New Jersey. Coast Guardsmen from Perth Amboy responded. When fire threatened a trainload of TNT, these men repaired the track and moved the train to safety, thus preventing further disaster. Two Coast Guardsmen were killed in this effort.
  • 1956-Two U.S. Air Force F-89 aircraft crashed in rugged mountain terrain about four miles from Mount Olympus, Washington.  For seven days, the Coast Guard directed a highly coordinated search for the lost plane and crews. Finally, aircraft and helicopters from the CG Air Station, Port Angeles, Washington, assisted by aircraft and ground search elements from other services, located and evacuated the two crew members on 5 October.  Another walked out on his own to Hoods Canal on 6 October and was picked up by the Coast Guard in Brinnon, Washington after phoning in his location.  He then assisted the Coast Guard in locating the crash site.  A fourth crewman went down with his aircraft and was killed.
  • 1980- A fire broke out on the Dutch cruise vessel Prinsendam off Ketchikan, Alaska.  Coast Guard helicopters and the cutters Boutwell, Mellon, and Woodrush responded in concert with other vessels in the area and rescued all of the passengers and crew without loss of life.
  • 1995- Hurricane Opal swept through the Gulf of Mexico and made landfall in Destin, Florida.  Coast Guard units provided relief efforts, surveyed damage, and restored aids to navigation.  The CGC Kodiak Island contacted the CGC Courgeous and requested assistance.  The Kodiak Island was battling 10 to 12-foot waves 100 miles west of Gasparilla, Florida, and experiencing flooding and a loss of steering control due to a hydraulic fluid leak.  A HC-130 from AIRSTA Clearwater flew to the scene to provide assistance and the Courageous went to escort the Kodiak Island to Group St. Petersburg.
  • 2014-CG District Seven reported an individual in a self-propelled homemade hydro-pod bubble craft activated his Emergency Position Indicating Radio-beacon and SPOT device. An Air Station Clearwater HC-130 aircraft vectored in an MH-60 helicopter that hoisted the individual, and an Automated Mutual-Assistance Vessel Rescue System vessel recovered his craft. The individual was treated at Air Station Clearwater by Emergency Medical Services for extreme fatigue and released.

5 October

  • 1938-The newly established "Coast Guard Reserve" (what would become the Coast Guard Auxiliary) enrolled its first members.

  • 1943-Patrol Squadron 6 (VP-6 CG) was officially established.  This was an all Coast Guard unit.  Its home base was at Narsarssuak, Greenland, code name Bluie West-One.  It had nine PBY-5As assigned.  CDR Donald B. MacDiarmid, USCG, was the first commanding officer.  As additional PBYs became available, the unit's area of operation expanded and detachments were established in Argentia, Newfoundland and Reykjavik, Iceland, furnishing air cover for Navy and Coast Guard vessels.   Hundreds of rescue operations and aerial combat patrols were carried out during the 27 months the squadron was in operation.

  • 1969-For extreme and heroic daring on the morning of 5 October 1969, while on authorized leave, Coast Guardsman James P. Grier rescued two persons and attempted to rescue a third from drowning in the waters of the Atlantic Ocean at Rockport Harbor, MA.  For his actions the Coast Guard awarded Petty Officer Grier a Gold Life-Saving Medal.

6 October

  • 1881-At daylight the crew of Station No. 1, First District (Carrying Point Cove, West Quoddy Head, Maine), sighted a schooner at anchor some four miles east-southeast of the station. She did not appear to be in distress, and as no signal was made it was supposed she had simply anchored to await the abatement of the winds, which at the time was blowing strong from the northwest. The keeper ordered a close watch on the schooner, in case she should signal for assistance. At 11 a .m. the lookout observed a boat leave her side and attempt to reach land, but the gale was too much for it and the effort had to be abandoned. The boat returned to the schooner. Upon arriving alongside, the keeper found the schooner to be Eclipse, of Eastport, Maine and that she had encountered a heavy squall the afternoon previous. It had split her sails and started her leaking badly. In this condition they had anchored her during the night, about two miles from the land, her crew, three in number, being almost exhausted by their efforts to keep her free. The life-saving crew at once turned to and pumped her out and made temporary repairs on the sails, and then worked her up into a safe harbor.
  • 1990-NASA astronaut and Coast Guard CDR Bruce Melnick made his first space flight when he served as a Mission Specialist aboard the space shuttle Discovery on Space Shuttle Mission STS-41, which flew from 6 to 10 October 1990.  Discovery deployed the Ulysses spacecraft for its five-year mission to explore the polar regions of the sun.  CDR Melnick was the first Coast Guardsman selected by NASA for astronaut training.

7 October

  • 1986-An HC-130 from Air Station Elizabeth City located the disabled 44-foot Polish sailing vessel Gaudeamus with six Polish citizens aboard about 400 miles east of New York.  A motor vessel was on scene with Gaudeamus when it was found by the HC-130 and remained there until CGC Taney arrived the next day and took the boat in tow.  CGC Cape Henlopen rendezvoused with Taney and took over the tow to Newport, Rhode Island.  The Polish Embassy sent the Coast Guard a diplomatic note extending the thanks of the Polish government for the Coast Guard's assistance in this case.

8 October

  • 1847-To reduce the expenditures of the Treasury Department, Secretary of the Treasury Robert J. Walker ordered a reduction of the complements on revenue cutters.
  • 1986-Coast Guard units evacuated flood victims from the St. Louis area using punts, helicopters and trucks after the Mississippi and Missouri rivers flooded.  In all, 150 Coast Guardsmen participated in the emergency flood relief efforts.  Coast Guard units that sent relief teams were: MSO St. Louis; Base St. Louis; CGCs Sumac, Cheyenne and Cimarron.  ATON Facility Leavenworth, Kansas; 2nd District office; and Air Stations New Orleans and Traverse City.

9 October

  • 1852-The Lighthouse Board, which administered the lighthouse system until 1 July 1910, was organized. "This Board was composed of two officers of the Navy, two officers of the Engineer Corps, and two civilians of high scientific attainments whose services were at the disposal of the President, and an officer of the Navy and of the, Engineers as secretaries. It was empowered under the Secretary of the Treasury to "discharge all the administrative duties" relative to lighthouses and other aids to navigation. The Secretary of the Treasury was president of the Board, and it was authorized to elect a chairman and to divide the coast of the United States into twelve lighthouse districts, to each of which the President was to assign an army or navy officer as lighthouse inspector."
  • 1858-The Secretary of the Treasury appointed a three-man board of U.S. Revenue Marine officers to consider a lifeboat design best adapted for life-saving work.
  • 1945-Coast Guard manned patrol vessel USS PC-590 grounded and sank in typhoon off Okinawa.  All hands were rescued.
  • 1982-The first rescue using COSPAS/SARSAT occurred on this date when the trimaran Gonzo capsized 300 miles east of Cape Cod.  Gonzo's ELT distress transmission was picked up by the Soviet COSPAS satellite and the sailing ship's coordinates were transmitted to the U.S.  A Coast Guard HC-130 and a Canadian Air Force aircraft were directed to the scene and USCGC Vigorous safely rescued the three crewmen.  The new "space-age" satellite search-and-rescue system was a joint U.S., Canadian, French and Soviet project that at this time utilized a single Soviet satellite.
  • 1993-Crews from seven 8th District units and several civilian vessels joined forces in response to an explosion and fire aboard the 660-foot bulk-liquid carrier OMI Charger near the Houston Ship Channel.  She had no fuel aboard when the explosion occurred the night of 9 October.  CGC Point Spencer served as the command platform and personnel and boats from ATON Team Galveston joined the response effort, which included fire-fighting, SAR, and pollution response assistance.  The fire was extinguished five hours after the initial explosion.  Two of the tanker's crewmen were killed in the blast.  Personnel from the Gulf Strike Team arrive on scene on 10 October and determined that the vessel's fuel was still all aboard.  It was removed prior to the vessel being towed to port where it was declared a total loss.  A joint Coast Guard and National Transportation Safety Board met to investigate the explosion.

10 October

  • 1798-Secretary Benjamin Stoddert, first Secretary of the Navy, sent the first instructions to cutters acting in cooperation with the Navy in support of the Quasi-War with France, via the various collectors of customs.
  • 1877-On this date in 1877 Captain Joseph Napier, Keeper of Life-Boat Station No. 6 (St. Joseph, Michigan), commanded a rescue mission for which he was awarded a Gold Lifesaving Medal.  His citation reads: "for for the daring gallantry he displayed in rescuing the crew of the schooner D. G. Williams, near the harbor of Saint Joseph, Michigan on the 10 October 1877. The schooner lay stranded during a heavy gale on the outer bar, with the sea breaking over her, and her unfortunate crew of six men up in the rigging for safety. Captain Napier got together three volunteers, commandeered a boat, and pushed out for the wreck. At the first attempt the boat was capsized in the breakers. On the second try he reached the wreck and returned with two of the sailors. The third trip the boat was completely filled with water, but was bailed and again reached the vessel, bearing off two men. At the fourth attempt Captain Napier and his three assistants were thrown out of the boat by a furious surge and one of his legs was badly hurt. One of the men swam ashore. Another got a line flung to him from the wreck and was taken aboard. Captain Napier and the other man, clinging to the boat, succeeded in righting and bringing it alongside the schooner. They then took off the two remaining men of her crew, together with the man taken on board, and regained the shore in safety. On other occasions Captain Napier was known to have shown equal heroism on desperate seas. Most notable instance was his rescue of the crew of the schooner Merchant during a tempest in 1854. For this feat he was presented with a gold watch suitably inscribed by citizens of Chicago."  He was the first recorded Life-Saving Serviceman to be awarded the Gold Lifesaving Medal.
  • 1929-Clarence Samuels, commanding CG Patrol Boat AB-15, was promoted to Chief Quartermaster, thereby becoming the Coast Guard's first African-American chief petty officer.

11 October

  • 1896-The crew of the Pea Island (North Carolina) Life-Saving Station, under the command of Keeper Richard Etheridge, performed one of their finest rescues when they saved the passengers and crew of the schooner E.S. Newman, after that ship ran aground during a hurricane.  Pushed before the storm, the ship lost all sails and drifted almost 100 miles before it ran aground about two miles south of the Pea Island Lifesaving Station.  Etheridge, a veteran of nearly twenty years, readied his crew.  They hitched mules to the beach cart and hurried toward the vessel. Arriving on the scene, they found Captain S. A. Gardiner and eight others clinging to the wreckage.  Unable to fire a line because the high water prevented the Lyle Gun’s deployment, Etheridge directed two surfmen to bind themselves together with a line.  Grasping another line, the pair moved into the breakers while the remaining surfmen secured the shore end. The two surfmen reached the wreck and tied a line around one of the crewmen. All three were then pulled back through the surf by the crew on the beach.  The remaining eight persons were carried to shore in this fashion. After each trip two different surfmen replaced those who had just returned.  For their efforts the crew of the Pea Island Life-Saving Station were awarded the Gold Lifesaving Medal in 1996.  
  • 1897-Property saved at Cape Hatteras, North Carolina.  During a severe storm the surf threatened to wash away a fish house, with valuable nets and other gear.  Surfmen saved the property and took it to a place of safety.  They also assisted the Cape Hatteras lighthouse keeper to remove the lighthouse's Fresnel lens to a secure place as the lighthouse was in danger of being knocked down by the sea.
  • 2013-CGC Maui, operating in the Persian Gulf as part of Patrol Forces Southwest Asia and assigned to Combined Task Force 152, rescued five Iranian mariners after they were fount adrift in a life raft in the northern waters of the Persian Gulf.  Maui's crew later transferred the survivors to an Iranian Coast Guard vesssel.

12 October

  • 1897-Near Corson Inlet, New Jersey, a man and two women were endangered by the sea sweeping around a their house 1/2 mile from the station.  Life-savers answered their signal of distress and rescued them in the surfboat.

13 October

  • 1775-This is the date that the Navy recognizes as it's official birthday.  The United States Navy traces its origins to the Continental Navy, which the Continental Congress established on 13 October 1775 by authorizing the procurement, fitting out, manning, and dispatch of two armed vessels to cruise in search of munitions ships supplying the British Army in North America. The legislation also established a Naval Committee to supervise the work. All together, the Continental Navy numbered some fifty ships over the course of the war, with approximately twenty warships active at its maximum strength.  After the American War for Independence, Congress sold the surviving ships of the Continental Navy and released the seamen and officers. The Constitution of the United States, ratified in 1789, empowered Congress "to provide and maintain a navy." Acting on this authority, Congress ordered the construction and manning of six frigates in 1794, and the War Department administered naval affairs from that year until Congress established the Department of the Navy on 30 April 1798.  In 1972, however, Chief of Naval Operations (CNO) Admiral Elmo R. Zumwalt authorized recognition of 13 October 1775 as the Navy’s official birthday.  There is no official motto for the U.S. Navy.  However "Non sibi sed patriae" (Not Self But Country) is often cited as the Navy's unofficial motto.
  • 1968-On 13 October 1968 CGC Southwind departed Baltimore, Maryland for a seven-month deployment to Antarctica and other world-wide destinations.  By the time she returned to Baltimore on 7 May 1969 she had become only the second cutter in Coast Guard history to circumnavigate the globe.
  • 1988-The first U.S. merchant marine World War II veterans received their Coast Guard-issued discharge certificates.  Congress gave the merchant mariners veterans' status and tasked the Coast Guard with administering the discharges.
  • 1995-CGC Ida Lewis was launched, the first of the new 175-foot Keeper class buoy tenders.

14 October

  • 1801-Secretary of the Treasury Albert Gallatin announced his decision to reduce the "Revenue Cutter Establishment. . .as near as circumstances will permit within its original limits" after the Quasi-War with France.  During that conflict the service had acquired larger cutters with more numerous crews.
  • 1943-CGC E.M. Dow grounded and was abandoned near Mayaguez, Puerto Rico. All hands were saved.
  • 1944-CGCs Eastwind and Southwind captured the Nazi weather and supply vessel Externsteine off the coast of Greenland after a brief fire-fight.  There were no casualties.  The Coast Guardsmen christened their prize-of-war USS Eastbreeze and placed a prize crew on board.  The prize crew was commanded by LT Curtiss Howard and consisted of 36 men, including some from Southwind.  After sailing with the Greenland Patrol for three weeks, Eastbreeze sailed on to Boston where the Navy renamed it as USS Callao. The Externsteine/Eastbreeze/Callao was the only enemy surface vessel captured at sea by U.S. naval forces during the war.  Eastwind and Southwind had gone farther north and returned under their own power than any vessel ever before. 
  • 1947-CGC Bibb rescued all 62 passengers and seven crew members of the transatlantic flying boat Bermuda Sky Queen in the mid-Atlantic after the flying boat made an emergency landing near the cutter.  The rescue was of the most dramatic rescues ever undertaken by the Coast Guard on the open ocean.
  • 1961-After an Air Force B-52G [serial number 58-196??] with eight persons on board was reported overdue and possibly down in the Atlantic Ocean somewhere off Newfoundland, the Coast Guard commander, Eastern Area, coordinated the extensive search that resulted.  Participating in it were 79 U.S. Coast Guard, Navy, Air Force, and Canadian aircraft, five U.S. Coast Guard cutters, and two merchant ships.  Despite this search that lasted through 18 October and covered 286,225 square miles, no trace of the missing B-52 or its crew was found.

15 October

  • 1846-USRC McLane ran aground while attempting to cross the bar of the River Alvarado during the Mexican War in support of U.S. operations there.
  • 1966-Coast Guard Port Security & Waterways Detail arrived for service in Vietnam.
  • 2001-On October 15, 2001, President George W. Bush announced that a letter sent to Senate Majority Leader Tom Daschle was laced with anthrax.  This followed a number of other anthrax attacks in Florida and New York.  The EPA requested Coast Guard assistance.  Members of the Atlantic Strike Team deployed to Washington, D.C., while Gulf Strike Team members were deployed to Florida.  Strike team members conducted entries into the affected areas, collected samples, and assisted in the cleanup of those areas.  The AST members in Washington coordinated entries into the U.S. Capitol, Hart Senate Building, the U.S. Supreme Court, and the Government Printing Office, among others.  The GST members took samples and provided decontamination stations at the American Media Inc. headquarters building and post offices in Boca Raton, Florida, the site of the first reported anthrax attack.

16 October

  • 1790-A contract was signed for the construction of the "first" of the 10 revenue cutters, Massachusetts, at Newburyport, Massachusetts.
  • 1952-A Merchant Marine Detail was established at Yokohama, Japan to handle increased merchant marine problems occurring there as a result of the Korean Conflict.
  • 1956- CGC Pontchartrain, on Ocean Station November, rescued the passengers and crew of Pan American Clipper Flight 943 after the clipper ditched between Honolulu and San Francisco.
  • 1992-CGC Storis became the first foreign military ship to visit the Russian port of Petropavlosk since the Crimean War.  During the goodwill visit, Storis conducted joint operations with the Russian icebreaker Volga.

17 October

  • 1814-The crew of USRC Eagle, which had been driven ashore near Negros Head, New York in an encounter with the British brig HMS Dispatch, dragged the cutter's guns up a bluff in an effort to continue the battle.  The New York Evening Post gave an account of what happened next to the out-gunned cutter and its crew:

    "During the engagement between the Cutter EAGLE and the enemy, the following took place which is worthy of notice.  Having expended all the wadding of the four-pounders on the hill, during the warmest of the firing, several of the crew volunteered and went on board the cutter to obtain more.  At this moment the masts were shot away, when the brave volunteers erected a flag upon her stern; this was soon shot away, but was immediately replaced by a heroic tar, amidst the cheers of his undaunted comrades, which was returned by a whole broadside from the enemy.  When the crew of the Cutter had expended all their large shot and fixed ammunition, they tore up the log book to make cartridges and returned the enemy's small shot which lodged in the hull.  The Cutter was armed with only 6 guns, 4 four-pounders and 2 twos with plenty of muskets and about 50 men.  The enemy being gone and provisions scarce the volunteers from this city left Captain Lee and his crew and arrived here on Thursday evening the 13th instant, in a sloop from Long Island. . .We have since learned that Captain Lee succeeded in getting off the Cutter and was about to remove her to a place of safety when the enemy returned and took possession of her.  She was greatly injured, but it is expected that the enemy will be able to refit her to annoy us in the sound."

  • 1977-The Coast Guard commissioned AIRSTA Sitka.
  • 1989- An earthquake registering 7.1 on the Richter Scale hit Northern California, killing 67 people.  Coast Guard units assisted state and local agencies in rescue and relief operations.
  • 2014-U.S. and Canadian military personnel and government civilian agencies participated in Exercise Frontier Sentinel 14 (FS 14) from 17 to 24 October 2014. This full-scale exercise is the final phase of a three-part scenario that focuses on maritime homeland security. FS 14 was a combined U.S. Coast Guard Atlantic Area, Canadian Joint Task Force Atlantic, and U.S. Navy Fleet Forces Command exercise designed to test the coordinated response against a maritime threat to North American ports. “This exercise tests the ability of U.S. Coast Guard, Navy, Canadian forces and civilian agencies to successfully respond to a complex maritime threat to the homeland," said VADM William Lee, Coast Guard Atlantic Area commander. "Exercises such as Frontier Sentinel allow us to strengthen partnerships with our Canadian and Navy counterparts in a realistic setting, which will enable us to improve our interoperability, so we are prepared to respond to any and all maritime threats to the homeland.” Phases one and two of FS 14 occurred in August and September and focused on maritime threats in the waters of the Atlantic Ocean, including Halifax, Nova Scotia. Phase three of the exercise will focus on the coordinated detection, assessment and response to a mine threat in the Delaware Bay. The exercise is limited to specific areas in Delaware Bay and should not significantly impact vessel traffic or bay operations. Frontier Sentinel is an annual exercise series, initiated in 2006, established to improve the collaborative information exchange, planning and coordinated response between operational-level commands of the Tri-Party, which consists of U.S. Coast Guard, U. S. Fleet Forces Command and Canadian Joint Task Force Atlantic, in response to security and defense threats in the maritime domain.
  • 2015-The Coast Guard issued a certificate of inspection to the LNG-powered M/V Isla Bella. The 736-foot, 3,100 TEU, U.S.-flagged vessel is the first container ship in the world capable of operating on liquefied natural gas. Isla Bella was the first of two Marlin-class containerships built by NASSCO in San Diego for operation by TOTE Services in the Jones Act trade between Jacksonville, Florida and Puerto Rico.

18 October

  • 1799-USRC Pickering (70 men) captured the French privateer L’Egypte Conquiste (250 men) on this date during the Quasi-War with France.
  • 1848-Captain Douglas Ottinger, USRM, was designated by the Secretary of the Treasury to supervise the construction of the first Life-Saving stations and the equipment and boats to be placed at them.

19 October

  • 1881-The sloop Zulu Chief with four passengers and a crew of two men struck the bar off Hog Island Inlet, Virginia at a point about half a mile from the beach. The accident occurred at 11 o’clock am in plain view of the crew of Station No. 9, Fifth District, on Hog Island. They launched the surfboat and went to the sloop’s assistance. She was pounding heavily and lay in a very dangerous position. The life-saving crew went to work without delay and carried out her anchors and succeeded in saving the vessel.

20 October

  • 1892-After ten years of difficult and costly construction, the St. George Reef Lighthouse, built on a rock lying six miles off the northern coast of California, midway between Capes Mendocino and Bianco, was first lit.
  • 1920-The Superintendent of the 5th Lighthouse District inspected the aids to navigation "in New River Inlet and Bogue Sound, North Carolina by hydroplane in two hours, which would have required at least four days by other means of travel, owning to the inaccessibility of the aids inspected."
  • 1944-Allied landings on Leyte, Philippine Islands commenced.  Many Coast Guard units participated in the landings, which marked the the fulfillment of General Douglas MacArthur's promise to the Filipino people that he would return to liberate them from the Japanese.
  • 1950- President Harry S. Truman issued an executive order "activating" the Magnuson Act, which had been passed by Congress earlier that month.  This act, authorizing the president to invoke the Espionage Act of 1917, tasked the Coast Guard once again with the port security mission.
  • 1976-The 120-foot ferry vessel George Prince, carrying 96 passengers and crew along with approximately 30 vehicles, collided with the Norwegian tank vessel Frosta in the Mississippi River about 20 miles above New Orleans.  The George Prince was underway from Destrehan to Luling, Louisiana and was loaded to capacity.  The Frosta struck the George Prince on the port side aft and the ferry quickly capsized and drifted upside down until it grounded on the right descending bank approximately one mile downstream from the point of collision.  There were 18 survivors but the other 78 passengers and crew on the ferry were killed.
  • 1978-CGC Cuyahoga sank after colliding with M/V Santa Cruz II near the mouth of the Potomac River.  Eleven Coast Guard crewmen were killed.

21 October

  • 1971-Alaska Senator Mike Gravel criticized the punishment of 18 crewmen of CGC Confidence for showing support for Greenpeace and asked the Commandant, Admiral Chester Bender, to investigate.

  • 2009-On 21 October 2009 while on a law enforcement patrol in the Eastern Pacific off the coast of Central America CGC Jarvis intercepted and captured a self-propelled semi-submersible (SPSS) first located by a U.S. Customs and Border Protection patrol aircraft.  Jarvis's boarding team discovered 4,500 kilos of narcotics aboard the craft and arrested the SPSS's four crewman.

22 October

  • 1853-The English ship Western World grounded off Spring Lake, New Jersey, during a gale with about 600 persons on board. Everyone was rescued using equipment at the nearby station.
  • 1960-Early in the morning on 22 October 1960, SS Alcoa Corsair and SS Lorenzo Marcello collided near the mouth of the Mississippi River. Although the Lorenzo Marcello suffered no casualties and proceeded to New Orleans, Alcoa Corsair had eight fatalities, nine injured, and one missing, besides being forced to beach because of severe damages. A Coast Guard helicopter removed four of the critically injured crewmen while Coast Guard boats and other craft ferried the remaining ones ashore to waiting ambulances.
  • 1962-Shortly after a Northwest Airlines DC-7 with 102 occupants ditched in the waters of Sitka Sound, Alaska, a Coast Guard amphibian sighted five life rafts.  All on board survived, although three suffered minor injuries.  A Federal Aviation Administration supply boat picked up the survivors, later transferring them to CGC Sorrel, which took them to Sitka, Alaska.
  • 2014-The crew of CGC Charles David Jr. repatriated 43 Cuban migrants to Bahia de Cabañas, Cuba. These repatriations were a result of three separate interdictions of people attempting to illegally migrate to the United States. On 18 October 2014, the crew of CGC Charles Sexton interdicted 22 Cuban migrants from two separate interdictions in the Florida Straits. The next day, 19 October, Sexton interdicted another 21 Cuban migrants. All of the migrants were safely removed from their makeshift vessels and were transferred to the Charles David Jr. for repatriation.

23 October

  • 1818-USRC Monroe captured the armed brig Columbia inside the Virginia Capes.  Columbia had been "cut out" of a Venezuelan fleet by pirates.
  • 1907-On this date in 1907 the first wireless operator to join the Revenue Cutter Service, H. I. Logan, enlisted on the USRC Manhattan, a harbor tug based in New York City, as an "Electrician (acting)."  He was assigned to the cruising cutter USRC Algonquin where he reported on board on 30 October 1907.  Logan remained in the service until 22 December 1923 when he retired after serving on board the USCGC Bear.  He crossed the bar in 1936. 

24 October

  • 2014-CGC Sherman returned to its homeport of San Diego after completing a 52-day deployment to the Eastern Pacific Ocean participating in UNITAS 2014 and conducting counter maritime drug interdiction operations. At the beginning of their deployment, Sherman represented the United States, one of 14 partner nations that participated in UNITAS 2014 from 12 to 26 September. Toward the conclusion of its deployment, Sherman interdicted two suspected smuggling boats that resulted in the seizure of approximately 120 pounds of cocaine with a wholesale value of nearly $2 million.

25 October

  • 1941-The Navy formally established the Greenland Patrol by combining the South Greenland Patrol with the three cutters of the Northeast Greenland Patrol.
  • 1985-CGC Polar Sea arrived home to Seattle after a voyage through the Northwest Passage by way of the Panama Canal, the east coast, and then Greenland, sparking an international incident with Canada.  She completed the first solo circumnavigation of the North American continent by a U.S. vessel and the first trip by a Polar-Class icebreaker.  She also captured the record for the fastest transit of the historic northern route.  She had departed Seattle to begin the voyage on 6 June 1985.

26 October

  • 2013-BNS Somudra Joy, formerly the Coast Guard Cutter Jarvis, departed Saturday from Alameda, marking a major milestone in international cooperation between the United States and Bangladesh. Joined by a small Coast Guard team of advisors, lead by CDR Wendy Tomko, the Bangladeshi crew planned to make port calls at San Diego, Honolulu, Guam and Malaysia on their way to Bangladesh.

27 October

  • 1997-The crew of CGC Baranof confiscated two .50-caliber sniper rifles, ammunition and other military supplies that were allegedly to be used in an assassination attempt against Cuban President Fidel Castro.  Four Cuban exiles were arrested for illegal possession of firearms after the 46-foot La Esperanza was ordered into Aguadilla, Puerto Rico, by the Baranof.  There a search of the vessel turned up the weapons.  One suspect confessed that the sniper rifles were to be used to assassinate Castro on his arrival on Venezuela's Margarita Island for the Ibero-American Summit Conference.  A magistrate in the U.S. District Court in San Juan later dismissed the charge of conspiracy to assassinate Castro but let the charges of illegal importation of firearms and making false statements stand.
  • 2014-A humpback whale was reported entangled with a weather buoy approximately 25 nautical miles off Moss Landing, California. The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) requested USCG assistance. On October 29, an Air Station San Francisco MH-65 helicopter located the entangled whale and vectored a NOAA vessel to the location. NOAA officials were able to successfully free the whale and preserve the buoy mooring. The whale was observed swimming away after it was freed. NOAA officials believe the whale will survive.

28 October

  • 1919-Congress passed the National Prohibition Enforcement Act, otherwise known as the Volstead Act, on this date.  The Volstead Act authorized the enforcement of the 18th Amendment, ratified on 29 January 1919.  The Act authorized the Coast Guard to prevent the maritime importation of illegal alcohol.  This led to the largest increase in the size and responsibilities of the service to date.
  • 1943-Choiseul, Treasury Islands landing commenced (Coast Guard-manned LST-71 was in second echelon November 1, 1943).
  • 1966-Coast Guard LORAN Station Con Son in Vietnam became fully operational.
  • 1991-Thousands of Haitian migrants began fleeing their homeland after the overthrow of Haitian President Jean-Bertrand Aristide, prompting one of the largest SAR operations in Coast Guard history.  Cutters and aircraft from as far north as New England converged on the Windward Passage.  In the first 30 days of the operation, Coast Guard forces rescued more than 6,300 men, women, and children who left Haiti in grossly overloaded and unseaworthy vessels.  Seventy-five Coast Guard units ultimately took part in the massive SAR operation and by the end of the year over 40,000 Haitian migrants were rescued.
  • 2012-The Coast Guard Captain of the Port of Honolulu ordered the evacuation of Honolulu Harbor after a tsunami warning was issued after an earthquake struck the Haida Gwaii archipelago in western Canada. 

29 October

  • 1883-At a quarter before 4 o’clock In the morning the two surfmen on patrol from the Plum Island Station (Second District), below Newburyport, Massachusetts, discovered a vessel ashore on the south breaker at the entrance of Newburyport Harbor, about half a mile northeast of the station. A signal was made to her that she was seen and the men hurried to the station and gave the alarm. The boat reached her shortly after 4 o’clock. She was the schooner Forest Maid with a crew of seven men bound on a fishing cruise. While going out over the bar, the wind being light, she had been carried by the strong ebb tide on to the shoal. The first thing done by her crew was to let go an anchor to hold her, but finding she continued to drive farther on they veered away. They were disappointed, for she soon fetched up hard and fast with ninety fathoms of cable out. As the water was still falling nothing could be done until the flood tide. The life-saving crew remained on board and when the tide began to rise at 8 o’clock, commenced operations by heaving in on the cable, The wind freshened considerably while they were at work, raising quite a swell, which caused the schooner to pound heavily. They persevered, however, gaining a little every time she lifted on the seas, so that by 9 o’clock the schooner was safely afloat and on her way back into the harbor, apparently none the worse for the accident.
  • 1965-Secretary of the Navy Paul Nitze requested additional Coast Guard patrol boats for patrol duties in Vietnam.
  • 2014-An Air Station Clearwater HC-130 aircraft discovered a vessel with 33 persons aboard seven nautical miles east of Boca Raton Inlet, Florida. Coast Guard Sector Miami diverted CGCs Shrike and Robert Yered and notified local government agencies. As assets arrived on scene, the persons aboard the vessel began jumping into the water. Robert Yered assumed On Scene Commander for all responding units and began recovering the persons in the water. Thirty-three Cuban migrants were safely recovered and were embarked by Robert Yered.
  • 2015-CGC Healy returned to its homeport of Seattle after completing four months of Arctic operations. The crew's return marks the completion of an Arctic expedition which culminated in the crews’ historic arrival at the North Pole and was the first time a U.S. surface vessel has reached 90°N unaccompanied. The crew conducted two separate missions that included operations in the Bering Sea, Chukchi Sea and Arctic Ocean. Coast Guard Research and Development Center members joined the crew of Healy for the third consecutive year to continue their research of Arctic technologies including: remotely operated vehicles, small unmanned aerial systems, an autonomous underwater vehicle and an unmanned surface vehicle. The crew departed Dutch Harbor, Alaska on 9 August for Geotraces, an international effort to study the distribution of trace elements in the world’s oceans to establish the effects of these elements on global climate change.
  • 2015-CGC Campbell returned to its its homeport of Kittery, Maine on Thursday at 2 p.m. after a 50-day patrol of the North Atlantic. During the patrol, which spanned an off-shore area from Maine to New York, Campbell was involved in multiple rescues, including towing two disabled fishing vessels over 150 nautical miles offshore. On 21 September 2015 Campbell responded to a report of a sea turtle entangled in fishing gear. Campbell launched their small boat and the rescue team was able to free the 6-foot long Leatherback sea turtle from the fishing line. During the patrol, Campbell traveled to Canadian waters to participate in a joint training exercise with the Canadian Armed Forces and Royal Canadian Mounted Police. On 26 October 2015, Campbell honored a former shipmate by conducting a burial at sea ceremony for a retired Coast Guard Chief Quartermaster. Additionally, as part of Campbell's primary mission they conducted 52 living marine resource boardings resulting in the issuing of 17 violations.

30 October

  • 1956-CGC Chincoteague, manning Ocean Station Delta in the North Atlantic, received a distress message that the German freighter Helgs Bolten was taking on water and wished to abandon ship as soon as possible.  After reaching the scene some hours later, the cutter found that the high winds and 25-foot seas made it impossible to launch lifeboats.  Two inflatable lifeboats, therefore, were passed by shot line to the freighter, and the 33 crewmen aboard were removed to the cutter unharmed.  Chincoteague then stood by the drifting vessel for seven days, while commercial tugs made salvage attempts.  All of the survivors returned on board the cutter to Norfolk, Virginia, while a tug towed Helg Bolten to the Azores.
  • 1991-CGC Tamaroa attempted to rescue the three persons on board the disabled sailing vessel Satori 75 miles south of Martha's Vineyard during a severe winter storm.  Tamaroa launched an RHI which was damaged by the tossing Satori as it drew near the sailing vessel but a Coast Guard  HH-3F, CG-1493, also participating in the rescue, hoisted the the three on board Satori and the RHI's crew to safety.  Tamaroa was then diverted to rescue the crew of a downed Air National Guard H-60.  (See 31 October entry below).
  • 2014-CGC Diligence returned to her homeport of Wilmington, North Carolina following a 45-day patrol in the Caribbean Sea. While on patrol, Diligence served as the operational commander for all Coast Guard assets supporting Operation Southeast Watch in the Windward Pass between Cuba and Haiti. As the operational commander, Diligence maintained an overt presence in the Windward Pass to prevent and respond to any overloaded or unseaworthy vessels with persons attempting to reach the United States shoreline. The crew aboard Diligence also conducted counter-narcotics operations in support of Operation Unified Resolve in San Juan, Puerto Rico. Crew members conducted two inspections of vessels suspected of smuggling narcotics and patrolled the region to counter the flow of illicit traffic. Under Operation Southeast Watch, the Coast Guard worked alongside interagency and international partners to prevent and respond to illegal maritime migration in the Caribbean Sea and Florida Straits. Under Operation Unified Resolve, the service placed special emphasis on targeting the primary and secondary flow of illicit drugs from South America to Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands. Operation Unified Resolve initially began as a surge operation, but in October 2013, the Coast Guard made it a standing operation and established a new baseline for drug interdiction operations in support of Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands.
  • 2015-CGC Spencer returned to its homeport of Boston after a 65-day patrol of the Caribbean Sea. Spencer conducted several search and rescue cases as well as counter narcotics and migrant interdiction operations. As part of Operation Martillo, Spencer intercepted four go-fast vessels suspected of trafficking drugs, and directly contributed to the seizure of 1,000 kilograms (2,204 pounds) of marijuana and 1,677 kilograms (3,697 pounds) of cocaine worth approximately $50 million. In addition, 11 suspected narcotic smugglers were taken into custody and were transferred to the offices of the United States Attorneys for prosecution. In Colón, Panama, Spencer’s boarding teams partnered with the National Aero-Naval Military Service of Panama to conduct a three-day joint boarding of a freighter suspected of smuggling narcotics. In mid-October while sailing the passage between Cuba and Mexico, Spencer’s crew rescued 24 passengers from a disabled vessel that was caught in 12-15-foot seas. Spencer’s crew was able to safely disembark the Cuban migrants as their vessel ran out of fuel and the sea state worsened. Martillo, which is Spanish for hammer, was a U.S., European, and Western Hemisphere effort to target illicit trafficking.

31 October

  • 1984-The tanker Puerto Rican exploded outside of San Francisco Bay.  Coast Guard units responded.
  • 1991-During an extremely severe winter storm CGC Tamaroa rescued four of five Air National Guard crewmen from an ANG H-60 that had ditched south of Long Island due to fuel exhaustion (the fifth crewman, a pararescue jumper, was never found).  Tamaroa had been attempting to rescue the crew of the sailing vessel Satori the previous day (the three on board Satori were rescued safely by HH-3F CG-1493--see 30 October entry above) when the cutter was diverted to assist the Air National Guard air crew.  Tamaroa was awarded the Coast Guard Unit Commendation and the events were chronicled in the best-selling book and movie "The Perfect Storm." 
  • 1999-Egypt Air Flight 990 crashed about 60 miles southeast of Nantucket.  Coast Guard units, including CGCs Monomoy, Spencer, Reliance, Bainbridge Island, Juniper, Point Highland, Hammerhead, a HC-130 from Air Station Elizabeth City and an HH-60 from Air Station Cape Cod searched unsuccessfully for any survivors.  All 217 persons on board were killed in the crash.  Coast Guard units then assisted in the recovery effort.
  • 2012-The Coast Guard completed Arctic Shield 2012 after a summer season of sustained operations and outreach efforts in the Arctic. Arctic Shield 2012 focused on operations, outreach and an assessment of the Coast Guard's capabilities above the Arctic Circle. The forward operating location in Barrow consisted of two Kodiak-based MH-60 Jayhawk helicopters with supporting air, ground and communications crews. The Coast Guard deployed several surface assets to the Arctic including the CGC Bertholf, that provided a persistent operational presence and command and control capability in an area where the Coast Guard lacked the permanent infrastructure of a coastal sector. Also deployed were two light-ice capable 225-foot sea-going buoy tenders, a 282-foot medium endurance cutter, and a 378-foot high endurance cutter were also deployed to the region to increase offshore operational capability, ensure the safety of mariners, patrol international borders and provide additional search and rescue capabilities.
  • 2014-The Coast Guard concluded Arctic Shield 2014 after a successful season that included deployments of personnel and assets to the Seward Peninsula, Bering Strait and the Northern Alaska Continental Shelf to conduct a broad range of Coast Guard statutory missions. Arctic Shield 2014 included deployments by CGCs Stratton, Healy, SPAR, Alex Haley and MH-60 Jayhawk helicopters deployed to a forward operating location in Barrow, tribal engagements and assistance, and a range of marine safety activities in many Arctic communities. Arctic Shield efforts included a first-ever MH-60T Jayhawk helicopter deployment to Stratton in the Arctic Ocean. The Arctic Shield team executed several challenging and high-visibility search and rescue cases, such as the dynamic rescue of the sailing vessel master aboard the Altan Girl beset in ice northeast of Barrow, and the medevac of a crewmember from the Korean polar research vessel Araon. Operation Gold Nugget prevention and enforcement activities included 54 at-sea boardings and 36 safety inspections. The Coast Guard Research and Development Center tested pollution response capabilities and successfully celebrated the first landing of a UAV on a Coast Guard ice breaker. The Coast Guard National Ice Rescue School provided critical ice rescue training to the three largest Arctic communities. Prevention activities and outreach spanned 29 villages, training over 2800 children in Kids Don't Float programs and three mass rescue exercises.

Last Modified 1/12/2016