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Coast Guard History

Frequently Asked Questions


 

SINBAD, USCG (Ret.)
K9C (Chief Petty Officer, Dog)

The crew of the Coast Guard cutter Campbell adopted a mixed-breed puppy in 1938.  Little did they know that their canine companion would become a world famous Coast Guard veteran.  He was, literally, a member of the crew, complete with all the necessary enlistment forms and other official paperwork,  uniforms, and his own bunk.  He sailed on board the combat-tested cutter through World War II and saw much action, both at sea and in port.  As Life Magazine reported: "An Old Sea Dog Has Favorite Bars and Plenty of Girls in Every Port."  Until recently he had the honor and distinction of being the only Coast Guardsman to be the subject of a biography!  It was Sinbad of the Coast Guard, written by Chief Specialist George R. Foley, USCGR and published by Dodd, Mead and Company of New York during the war.  The book made him an international celebrity.

Although he served honorably, he did run into a bit of trouble on occasion, as any sailor might during a long career at sea.  He caused an international incident in Greenland, another in Casablanca, and was busted in rank a few times for minor infractions.  As another author noted:

"Sinbad is a salty sailor but he's not a good sailor.  He'll never rate gold hashmarks nor Good Conduct Medals.  He's been on report several times and he's raised hell in a number of ports.  On a few occasions, he has embarrassed the United States Government by creating disturbances in foreign zones.  Perhaps that's why Coast Guardsmen love Sinbad, he's as bad as the worst and as good as the best of us."

Regardless of the fact that he liked to blow off a little steam while on liberty, he was a brave and capable sailor when he was on duty.  He earned the respect and affection of his shipmates during one famous battle when the Campbell fought it out with the Nazi submarine U-606.  The cutter was severely damaged during the fight and the commanding officer ordered all but essential personnel off the ship.  They transferred to a nearby destroyer but a tough and hardy few stayed on board the Campbell while the cutter was towed to safety, patching her hull and ensuring that she stayed afloat during the voyage.  Among that few was Sinbad.  

He served faithfully on board Campbell for eleven years, garnering more sea time than most of his contemporaries, before finally retiring to the Barnegat Light Station.  He passed away 30 December 1951 and was laid to rest beneath the station's flagstaff. 


A photo of Sinbad.

Sinbad in an advertisement from from a war-time magazine.

A photo of Sinbad.

Sinbad at general quarters!

 

A photo of Sinbad.

Sinbad and some of his shipmates on board the cutter Campbell in the North Atlantic, 1943.

A photo of Sinbad.

Sinbad racks out until his next duty watch.  On board the cutter Campbell, 1943, somewhere in the North Atlantic.

 

A photo of Sinbad with a monkey

Sinbad meets a monkey!  John Grey, Jr., sent us this photo of Sinbad.  Mr. Grey wrote: "My father, John Grey, who is on the left, got the monkey (Lucy) from another ship.  He had the monkey while serving on LCI-88.  He brought Lucy on board the Campbell to meet Sinbad when they tied along side her to take on a water supply."

A photo of Sinbad getting paw printed.

Sinbad is "paw printed" for his Coast Guard service record.

A photo of Sinbad.

Sinbad being interviewed about his combat experiences by ABC News.

A photo of Sinbad.

Sinbad on tour after the war, promoting his new autobiography.

A photo of Sinbad.

Sinbad meets one of his many admirers.  He wore his extensive collection of service ribbons and awards on his collar.  Sinbad earned each of the five ribbons he wore, just as his shipmates did.  These included the American Service, European Theatre,  and Pacific Theatre ribbons.  He survived attacks by U-boats and enemy aircraft.

A photo of Sinbad.

What every sailor is waiting to hear: liberty! liberty, liberty!  Let's go!  Sinbad only went AWOL once.  When he was returned to the ship by the Shore Patrol, he went to Captain's Mast and his punishment was "under no conditions was [he] to be permitted liberty in any foreign port in the future."  After that, Sinbad avoided all officers if he could.  As the crew noted, he held a "hearty distrust" of anyone wearing gold braid.

A photo of Sinbad.

The original caption stated: "Every Coastie has a favorite tavern.  Sinbad relaxes on the front steps of Kubel's Bar, Seventh, Street, Barnegat Light, NJ."  Sinbad was well known in waterfront bars around the world and he could handle his own when drinking with the saltiest sailors.

A photo of Sinbad.

The original caption stated: "A salty seafarer savoring his suds.  Sinbad, known in over one-hundred world ports for his ability to consume beer, enjoys a brew at Kubel's Bar, Seventh Street, Barnegat Light, NJ."  

Sinbad was known to appreciate a good shot of whiskey with a beer chaser.

A photo of Sinbad.

The original caption stated: "A sailor home from the sea.  Sinbad retires from active sea duty at ceremonies aboard the cutter Campbell on September 21, 1948.  Above crewmembers hear Commander Gilbert I. Lynch, USCG, the cutter's executive officer (now retired), read Sinbad his retirement orders.  Sinbad sailed with the Campbell eleven years before going to Barnegat Coast  Guard Station, Barnegat Light, NJ.

A photo of Sinbad.

Sinbad disembarks Campbell for the final time, ending eleven years of sea duty.

A photo of Sinbad.

Sinbad at his new home, the Coast Guard Light Station at Barnegat, New Jersey.  He had plenty of company in his retirement and although he missed his shipmates on board the cutter, duty at a light station wasn't too bad after all.

A photo of Sinbad.

Sinbad continued to serve his shipmates, the Coast Guard, and his country to the end.

A photo of Sinbads grave

Sinbad's headstone at the base of the flagpole of the now-decommissioned light station at Barnegat, New Jersey.

Courtesy of CDR Joe Dumas, USCGR.


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Last Modified 11/17/2014