Coast Guard at War: World War II

The U. S. Coast Guard in World War II

The cutter Duane during a gale while escorting a convoy across the North Atlantic, circa early 1943.

USCGC Duane escorts a convoy across the stormy North Atlantic, early 1943.


 

Quick Links:



World War II Victory Ribbon   World War II


Official Histories:

 

The Coast Guard At War: Greenland Patrol (Official History Series, Volume II, 1945).

The Coast Guard At War: Alaska (Official History Series, Volume III, 1946).

The Coast Guard At War: Pacific Landings (Official History Series, Volume VI, 1946).

The Coast Guard At War: Weather Patrol (Official History Series, Volume VII, 1949).

The Coast Guard At War: Lost Cutters (Official History Series, Volume VIII, 1947).Burial at sea for Coast Guardsman Julius T. Petrella

The Coast Guard At War: North African Landings (Official History Series, Volume IX, 1946).

The Coast Guard At War: Sicily-Italy Landings (Official History Series, Volume X, 1946).

The Coast Guard At War: Landings in France (Official History Series, Volume XI, 1946).

The Coast Guard At War: Intelligence (Official History Series, Volume XII, 1949).

The Coast Guard At War: Marine Inspection, December 7, 1941-July 18, 1944 (Official History Series, Volume XIII; in 2 sections, 1944, 1951).

The Coast Guard At War: Assistance (Official History Series, Volume XIV; in 2 sections, 1944, 1947).

The Coast Guard At War: Aids To Navigation (Official History Series, Volume XV, 1949).

The Coast Guard At War: Beach Patrol (Official History Series, Volume XXVII, 1945).

The Coast Guard At War: Port Security (Official History Series, Volume XVIII, 1949).

The Coast Guard At War: Auxiliary (Official History Series, Volume XIX, 1948).

The Coast Guard At War: Temporary Reserve (Official History Series, Volume XX, 1948).

The Coast Guard At War: Women's Reserve (Official History Series, Volume XXII, 1946).

The Coast Guard At War: Personnel (Official History Series, Volume XXV, 1950).


General & Overview World War II History:

 

Bibliography of The Coast Guard In World War II

The Coast Guard Book of Valor: a list, with citations, of all Coast Guardsmen who were decorated for heroism during World War II

Coast Guard Combat Victories of World War II

Coast Guard World War II Personnel Numbers

Admiral Russell R. Waesche, Commandant

Treasury Department memos regarding the Coast Guard, transfer to the Navy, duties and responsibilities on the eve of the U.S. entrance into hostilities during World War II.

 "The Accomplishments of Ten Coast Guard [250-foot Lake-Class] Cutters Transferred to the United Kingdom," under Lend Lease, prepared by Research and Statistics Section--Operations Division, USCG, 1941.

Guardian Spies: The Coast Guard's World War II Intelligence Program

Coast Guard Intelligence & OSS Maritime Operations During World War II

LORAN

"The Coast Guard at Camp Lejeune: A Brief History," an article on the history of the Coast Guard's training programs at Camp Lejeune, which began during World War II and continues to this day.  Written by Lieutenant Colonel L. J. Kimball, USMC (Ret.).

A History of the Coast Guard's Merchant Marine Training Program in World War II

The Development of the Helicopter as an Anti-Submarine Weapon


The American Defense Ribbon Domestic/Homeland Security Topics, Including Women's Reserve Program, Port Security and Beach Patrol:

A History of the Coast Guard's Captains of the Port [pdf file]

Captains of the Port & Port Security: A Photo Gallery

"Coast Guard" Captain of the Port and Harbor Patrol "Activities on City Island, New York, during World War II," by CDR Timothy Dring, USNR (Ret.)

"The El Estero Fire and How the US Coast Guard Helped Save New York Harbor"; an article on the 1943 disaster in New York harbor that could have destroyed much of the city, by William H. Thiesen as published in Sea History 126 (Spring 2009), pp. 16-19.

Beach Patrol and Corsair Fleet

The Beach Patrol: A Gallery of Historic Images

Oral history interview with Specialist (D) Third Class Donald Gillogly, USCGR.  The "D" stands for Dog--Spec(D)3c Gillogly was a dog handler and specialist who served with the Coast Guard's Beach Patrol at Cambria, California.  He also served as a Coast Guard gate guard at a Naval air station in Massachusetts.  He attended boot camp at Alameda, California.

Captain Warren Mitchell graduated from OCS in 1942 and serviced at COTP Astoria where he  boarded incoming Soviet freighters that supplied the Soviet Army in its war with Nazi Germany.  He then went to flight school and served at air stations Elizabeth City and St. Simons Island where he flew PBYs.

Photos, autographs and a brief accompanying description of the Coast Guard "Detachment" assigned to Naval Air Station Daytona Beach, Florida.

SPARS: The Coast Guard & the Women's Reserve in World War II

SPAR Norma Choyce's oral history.

SPAR LTJG Harriet Writer, who served as the first female Quartermaster in either the Navy or the Coast Guard, describes her time in the service, including earning her commission and duty with the Aids to Navigation Office in Boston.  Interview conducted by Dr. Douglas Kroll, USCG AUX.

Florence Finch was the only SPAR decorated for combat during World War II.  Read her autobiographical account of her fascinating life as a resistance fighter in the Philippines prior to making it to the U.S. where she joined the SPARs.


Navy Good Conduct Medal Ribbon Coast Guard-Manned U.S. Navy and Army Warships, Vessels, Landing Craft & Associated Oral Histories:


Coast Guard-Manned Naval Vessels in World War II

Coast Guard-Manned LSTs During World War II

Patrol Frigates-PFs [not an official U.S. Coast Guard website]

QM3 Walter Nasmyth describes his experiences on the USS LST-19 in the Pacific Theatre. A landing craft from the USS Hunter Liggett, a Coast Guard-manned transport

Coast Guard-Manned LCI(L)s & Coast Guard-Commanded LCI(L) Flotilla 4 / 10 / 35 During World War II

U.S. Army "FS" (Freight-Supply) Vessels Manned by Coast Guard crews

Radioman Third Class Ray Carl, who served in the Pacific Theatre on board the Army's USS FS-173. Interview by Dr. Douglas Kroll, USCG AUX.

One Among Many: The Memoirs of BM2 Douglas M. Pierpont, USCG: 1941-1947; BM2 Pierpont's exciting illustrated memoir of his service in the Coast Guard through World War II and after.  He enlisted prior to Pearl Harbor and saw action as a coxswain assigned to the Boat Division aboard USS Leonard Wood--he participated in the invasions of North Africa, Sicily and then landings throughout the Pacific Theatre.  After the war he served in Alaska aboard USCGC Bittersweet and Unalga.

Coxswain Dale Palmer, the coxswain of a landing craft from the assault transport USS Hunter Liggett.  Palmer took part in the invasions of Guadalcanal and Bouganville.  Interview by Dr. Douglas Kroll, USCG AUX.

The oral history of Chief Damage Controlman Clyde Allen, USCG (Ret.). Chief Allen served during World War II and retired from active duty in 1965.  He had a variety of duty posts during his Coast Guard career, including the service with the Beach Patrol, the troop transports USS General Hugh L. Scott and the USS General H. F. Hodges.  He is the father of Vice Admiral Thad Allen, USCG.

Coast Guard Surfman Gerrett Gregory, who joined the service in 1938, just in time to serve at a lifeboat station during the Great Hurricane of 1938, wrote an article regarding his experiences of serving as a landing craft operator and instructor while assigned to a Navy attack transport that saw service in the South Pacific theatre. After the war he transferred to aviation and served as a crewmen on board Coast Guard PBMs

The in-depth oral history of Radarman Second Class Collingwood Harris.  RM2/c Harris served aboard the Coast Guard-manned destroyer escort USS Peterson during World War II and saw action in the convoy battles of the North Atlantic, including the loss of the Coast Guard-manned USS Leopold and the sinking of the U-550.

Seaman 1/c Jerry Ciccimaro, USCGR, served on the Coast Guard's Beach Patrol on the west coast and then went on to serve on the USS Cavalier in the Pacific.  Interview conducted by Dr. Douglas Kroll, USCG AUX.

Ship's Cook Third Class Jack Samuels, USCGR, served on board two patrol frigates: USS Grand Island (PF-14) and USS New Bedford (PF-71).  SC3 Samuels, who is Jewish, candidly describes the instances of prejudice he dealt with while serving during World War II.  Interview by Dr. Douglas Kroll, USCG AUX.

GM2/c Charlie Bulanti, served in the Pacific Theatre on board the USS Arthur Middleton.  He was a veteran of the landings at Saipan, Leyte, Midnora Island (Luzon) and Okinawa.  During his combat career he met Jack Dempsey and Bob Crosby (brother of Bing), started his own band, survived kamikaze attacks, bar fights, and even transported Japanese prisoners-of-war.  Interview conducted by Dr. Douglas Kroll, USCG AUX.

Radarman 2/c George O'Leary, USCGR, served on beach patrol along the California shoreline and at sea in the Pacific on board a U.S.S. Gallup.  Interview conducted by Dr. Douglas Kroll, USCG AUX.

Cliff Beasley recounts a few humorous World War II stories regarding OCS training, the atomic bomb, and duty aboard an Army "FS" vessel in the Pacific.

QM1 Hank Rogers, USCG (Ret.) tells the story of the Coast Guard-manned Army FS-184 in action in the Pacific

Edward Flynn tells the story of the little-known Coast Guard-manned Army Repair Ship Duluth in action in the Pacific.

LTJG Robert Smith's oral history; he served aboard the Spencer, Salvia, USS Y-9, and the USS LST-769 & also married Coast Guard SPAR Donna Smith, becoming the first "Coast Guard couple."

The oral history of World War II Coast Guard veteran Marvin Perrett, who was a coxswain of a landing craft assigned to the USS Bayfield; he participated in the invasions of Normandy (D-Day!), Iwo Jima, and Okinawa. 

Illustrated memoir of Signalman Third Class William L. Sprague, who describes his World War II experiences, including  Basic Training at Curtis Bay, Maryland, service in the Captain of the Port Office and on a patrol boat in Newport, Rhode Island, travel across the U.S. by train and plane, Signalman School in California, and service on board the USS Corpus Christi in the Pacific Theatre. 

Illustrated memoir of Coast Guard veteran Norman Taylor, who describes his World War II experiences, including  Basic Training at the Manhattan Beach Training Station, service on the Beach Patrol, "EM" school, and service on the USS FS-396 in the Pacific Theatre.

"The Coast Guard at Camp Lejeune: A Brief History," an article on the history of the Coast Guard's training programs at Camp Lejeune, which began during World War II and continues to this day.  Written by Lieutenant Colonel L. J. Kimball, USMC (Ret.).


A Coast Guard Arctic Service ribbon  The Coast Guard and the Greenland Patrol:


The Coast Guard and the Greenland Patrol

USS Northland CG patrolling Greenland waters

The Coast Guard At War: Greenland Patrol (Official History Series, Volume II, 1945).

The First U.S. Naval Capture of World War II: USCGC Northland

"The Greenland Ice Cap Rescue of B-17 'PN9E' November 5, 1942 to May 8, 1943"; by Captain Donald M. Taub, USCG (Ret.)

The Capture of the German Naval Auxiliary Extersteine by USCGC Eastwind and USCGC Southwind, in 1944 off Greenland.

Death of a Wooden Shoe: A Sailor's Diary of Life and Death on the Greenland Patrol, 1942, by Thaddeus D. Novak

Captain David W. Sinclair's memoir.  CAPT Sinclair has provided us with his memoir of his Coast Guard career that stretched from 1935 through his retirement in 1969. 

Pat Latorra's oral history.  He served aboard USCGC Algonquin on escort-of-convoy operations on the Greenland Patrol.

LORAN: Early Electronic History and the Bridging of the North Atlantic and North Pacific


American Theatre Service Ribbon   The Coast Guard in the Atlantic Theatre:


"The First Year in the Life of a Patrol Craft: USS PC-469", a first-hand narrative written by former Vice-Commandant VADM Thomas Sargent.

The Journal of ENS W. E. Prindle written while he served aboard the USCGC Marion in 1942 on escort duty in the Atlantic.

The Loss of the Cutter USCGC Alexander Hamilton

BM3 Thomas V. Mullings' Oral History: BM3 Mullings was a survivor of the sinking of the USCGC Alexander Hamilton. USS Spencer CG attacks the Nazi U-175

Coast Guard Victories! The Cutters Icarus and Thetis Each Sink a U-boat.

Beach Patrol and Corsair Fleet

The Loss of the USCGC Escanaba

SN 1/c Raymond O'Malley's Oral History: O'Malley was one of two Escanaba survivors.

The cutter Ingham's Mediterranean and Pacific Theatre Operations, 1944-1946: A historical narrative by Dean Colbert and Robert Carter.

The Coast Guard and the North Atlantic Campaign in World War II

A historic photo gallery of the CGCs Spencer & Duane attacking and sinking the U-175 while escorting a convoy across the North Atlantic in 1943.

Sinking the U-550: Two Coast Guard-manned warships attack and sink a U-boat.

An account of the relief of convoy SC-177 that was taken from an unpublished book, Bloody Winter -- The Lighter Side, by the late CAPT John M. Waters, Jr., the first President of the Ingham Association.  

The oral history of Radarman Second Class Collingwood Harris.  RM2/c Harris served aboard the Coast Guard-manned destroyer escort USS Peterson during World War II and saw action in the convoy battles of the North Atlantic, including the loss of the Coast Guard-manned USS Leopold and the sinking of the U-550.

Scrapbook photographs from the collection of CAPT Eliot Winslow, who commanded the USCGC Argo in May, 1945.  The scrapbook covers the Argo's role in the surrender of three German U-boats: U-234, U-805, and the U-873.  


European African Mediterranean Theatre Service Ribbon   The Coast Guard in the European Theatre:

The Coast Guard and the Invasion of North Africa: Operation Torch

The Coast Guard and the Invasion of Sicily: Operation Husky

The Coast Guard and the Invasion of Salerno, Italy: Operation Avalanche

The Coast Guard At War: North African Landings (Official History Series, Volume IX, 1946).

The Coast Guard At War: Sicily-Italy Landings (Official History Series, Volume X, 1946).

"LCI's Are Veterans Now.": a war-time article by an officer who served with Flotilla 4/10  describes his unit's experiences during the invasions of Sicily, Italy, and Normandy. Coast Guard-manned LCI-85 practices landings prior to D-Day

A Letter Home: Written by a Coast Guard veteran describing Flotilla 4/10's operations through 1943.

"D--Day" & Operation Overlord: The Coast Guard at Normandy

Operation Dragoon: The Coast Guard & The Invasion of Southern France (Power Point)

One Among Many: The Memoirs of BM2 Douglas M. Pierpont, USCG: 1941-1947; BM2 Pierpont's exciting illustrated memoir of his service in the Coast Guard through World War II and after.  He enlisted prior to Pearl Harbor and saw action as a coxswain assigned to the Boat Division aboard USS Leonard Wood--he participated in the invasions of North Africa, Sicily and then landings throughout the Pacific Theatre.  After the war he served in Alaska aboard USCGC Bittersweet and Unalga.

European Theatre Veterans' Oral Histories

The oral history of World War II Coast Guard veteran Marvin Perrett, who was a coxswain of a landing craft assigned to the USS Bayfield; he participated in the invasions of Normandy (D-Day!), Iwo Jima, and Okinawa.

The oral history of Coast Guard veteran John Roberts, an African-American who served on board a Coast Guard-manned LCI at Omaha Beach, Normandy on D-Day.  He was grievously wounded by German shellfire but survived.


Pacific Theatre Service Ribbon   The Coast Guard in the Pacific Theatre:

The Coast Guard and the Pacific War in World War II

The Coast Guard At War: Pacific Landings (Official History Series, Volume VI, 1946).

Pearl Harbor: The Coast Guard and the Japanese Attack, 7 December 1941

The Coast Guard vs. the Japanese Empire; a PowerPoint presentation covering the Coast Guard's contribution to the Allied cause in the Pacific Theatre.

Dwight Dexter, Commanding Officer, Boat Pool, Lunga Point, Guadalcanal

Naval Operating Base 'Cactus' and Coast Guard Operations in the Battle for Guadalcanal (The Quarterdeck Log, Vol. 26, No. 3)

Douglas Munro, the Coast Guard and the Guadalcanal Campaign

Ray Evans' Oral History: Remembering Douglas Munro

U.S. Army "FS" (Freight-Supply) Vessels Manned by Coast Guard crews

A photo of Marines holding a sign thanking the Coast Guard for the efforts in the invasion

Edward Flynn tells the story of the little-known Coast Guard-manned Army Repair Ship Duluth in action in the Pacific.

The Coast Guard and the Invasion of the Gilbert Islands

The Coast Guard and the Invasion of the Marshall Islands

The Coast Guard and the Invasion of the Caroline Islands

The Coast Guard and the Invasion of Saipan

The Coast Guard and the Invasion of the Philippines

The Coast Guard and the Invasion of Iwo Jima

Invasion of Iwo Jima diary: Coast Guard veteran GM1 Robert Mullins wrote a detailed diary during the bloody assault on Iwo Jima in 1945.  GM1 Mullins served aboard a Coast Guard-manned LST.

The Coast Guard's Role in the Raising of the Flag on Mount Suribachi at Iwo Jima

The Coast Guard and the Invasion of Okinawa

Pacific Theatre Veterans' Oral Histories


The oral history of Chief Damage Controlman Clyde Allen, USCG (Ret.)  Chief Allen served during World War II and retired from active duty in 1965.  He had a variety of duty posts during his Coast Guard career, including war-time service with the Beach Patrol and combat assignments on board the troop transports USS General Hugh L. Scott and the USS General H. F. Hodges.  He is the father of the former Commandant of the Coast Guard, Admiral Thad Allen, USCG.

Coast Guardsman Ray Evans' Oral History: Remembering Douglas Munro

Coxswain Dale Palmer, the coxswain of a landing craft from the troop transport USS Hunter Liggett.  Palmer took part in the invasions of Guadalcanal and Bouganville.  Interview by Dr. Douglas Kroll, USCG AUX.

QM 1/c Hank Rogers, USCG (Ret.) tells the story of the Coast Guard-manned Army FS-184 in action in the Pacific

Seaman 1/c Jerry Ciccimaro, USCGR, who served on the Coast Guard's Beach Patrol on the west coast and then went on to serve on the USS Cavalier in the Pacific.  Interview conducted by Dr. Douglas Kroll, USCG AUX.

GM2/c Charlie Bulanti, served in the Pacific Theatre on board the USS Arthur Middleton.  He was a veteran of the landings at Saipan, Leyte, Midnora Island (Luzon) and Okinawa.  During his combat career he met Jack Dempsey and Bob Crosby (brother of Bing), started his own band, survived kamikaze attacks, bar fights, and even transported Japanese prisoners-of-war.  Interview conducted by Dr. Douglas Kroll, USCG AUX.

Radarman 2/c George O'Leary, USCGR, served on beach patrol along the California shoreline and at sea in the Pacific on board a USS Gallup.  Interview conducted by Dr. Douglas Kroll, USCG AUX.

Radioman Second Class Armond "Bud" Lisle served as a radio operator at a Pacific LORAN monitoring station, Canton Island (Unit 94) in 1945 & 1946.  Interview conducted by Dr. Douglas Kroll, USCG AUX.

Radioman Third Class Ray Carl, who served in the Pacific Theatre on board the Army's USS FS-173. Interview by Dr. Douglas Kroll, USCG AUX.


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