Coast Guard Mascots Go to War

Mascots Followed Their Ships Into Battle


Photographs (click on the thumb-nail image) Original photograph caption (if any) and description.
Coast Guard mascot Soogee "'SOOGEE at gun sight."  Here we see the cutter Taney's mascot, Soogee, who served aboard for most of the war.  This photo was taken off the coast of Okinawa during the invasion of that island in 1945.
Coast Guard mascot Barnacle Bill "BARNACLE BILL'  A rough and ready, hearty and salty old sea dog is 'Barnacle Bill,' mascot aboard a Coast Guard-manned assault transport somewhere in the Pacific.  A veteran campaigner, 'Barnacle Bill' wears his white hat at a jaunty angle and wonders what's holding up Mess Call."
Coast Guard mascot Sparky "'SPARKY' GOES TOPSIDE ON THE DOUBLE: When general quarters is sounded aboard his Coast Guard combat cutter, 'Sparky' goes topside on the double.  Mascot of the fighting Coast Guard vessel in the Atlantic, 'Sparky' stays topside during moments of excitement.  His battle station is flexible.  He just goes where his fancy takes him."
Coast Guard mascot Sparky receiving medical treatment "'SPARKY' WOUNDED IN THE LINE OF DUTY': AND HE GOES TO SICK BAY -- Roaming his watch on board a Coast Guard combat cutter, 'Sparky,' the floppy-eared mascot gets mixed up with a high doorsill on a high sea.  A casualty with a painfully injured forepaw, he limps to Sick Bay under his own power and ready hands of the pharmacist's mate dress his wound."
Coast Guard mascot knobby "'GOOD LUCK' MUTT GOES ALONG ON THE INVASION: 'Knobby,' a mongrel pup, mascotted a Coast Guard Rescue Cutter that crossed the English Channel to the coast of France on D-Day.  Wearing his specially-made life preserver, 'Knobby' stayed right in there barking during those critical days when the beachhead in Normandy was established and when the Coast Guard Rescue Flotilla saved the lives of more than 750 American and Allied invaders from the channel."
Coast Guard mascot Pete "PETE THE POOCH, ABLE SEAMAN: Pete the pooch, Le Havre mooring expert, knows all about ships and the way to moor them.  He's handled many vessels in his wartime life, such as this Coast Guard 83-foot cutter about to be tied up.  Pete goes into the sea after the line, brings it ashore and then makes the vessel fast.  It's all in the days work of a sea dog."
A Coast Guard cat "THEN THE CAT CAME ABOARD -- At Tarawa, Coast Guard officers rescued a frightened, half-starved kitten from a shell-smashed. . .pillbox.  They brought her aboard, named her "Tarawa' and installed her in the officers' quarters of the LST.  'Kodiak' [see below] the crew's mascot, liked the gals, but not cat gals.  A great cloud settled over his life.  Shucks!  What business has a cat aboard a hard-hitting, bomb-dodging LST."
A Coast Guard mascot "ALASKAN DOG MEETS A SOUTH SEAS CAT: TWO MASCOTS ARE TOO MANY: Aboard the Coast Guard-manned LST, 'Kodiak' the dog from the Alaska waterfront, and 'Tarawa,' the cat from a Tarawa pillbox, just didn't get along.  The dog stuck to the enlisted men, the cat high-hatted him and trailed entirely with the gold braids.  'Kodiak' sulked.  'Tarawa' hunched her back and spat, 'Keep your distance, big boy.'  Then the LST came home for a spell and 'Tarawa' jumped ship.  Not so 'Kodiak.'  He's happy once more and saltier than ever.  The ship is his and he's sticking for the duration."
Coast Guard puppies "IT'S AN ALL-AROUND BLESSED EVENT: There's some question about who seems the proudest --- 'Queenie,' Coast Guardsman Charles Spadaro, Seaman, First Class, left, of Albany, N.Y. or corporal Robert B. Winter, AUS, of Cincinnati, Ohio.  For Queenie, those two pups born in the Mediterranean aboard a Coast Guard-manned troop transport was a blessed event.  For Cpl. Winter, his presence on the ship and the birth of the pups would seem to be a super-special blessed event.  After campaigning in Europe, he's returning home on rotation."  The photo is dated 14 June 1945.
Coast Guard pidgeon "CHANGING OF THE WATCH -- 'PA' PIGEON RELIEVES 'MA': 'PA' SITS THE NIGHT WATCH -- Having finished her meal of peanuts and bugs and such stuff, 'Ma' pigeon wings back up to the seventh floor of Coast Guard Headquarters, taps on the window and resumes her watch over the two white eggs.  This frees 'Pa' for a few hours and he takes off to join the boys in the park at 13th Street and Pennsylvania Avenue.  But every night, Ensign Egger insists, it is 'Pa' who sits the night watch.  Where his spouse lights out to at 'lights out,' nobody knows."  The photo is dated 22 February 1945.
A Coast Guard mascot "HOME WAS NEVER LIKE THIS: Things are just 'sew, sew' -- At sea, A Coast Guardsman is a versatile chap, adept with ropes, winches, paint brushes and even the needle.  Here, Coast Guardsman Harold J. Adams, Seaman First Class, does some 'fancy work' on a piece of canvas, while the curious puppy mascot, aptly named 'Nosey' climbs on his shoulder to see what goes on.  The man and the dog are shipmates on a Coast Guard-manned LST somewhere in the Pacific.  Adams is the son of Mr. and Mrs. Harris A. Adams, of . . . New Orleans, LA.  His father is a Coast Guard Chief Machinist's Mate with 25 years in the service."  The photo is dated 30 March 1945.
A Coast Guard mascot "THIS COAST GUARD CAT NEEDS NINE LIVES -- HE CHASES [JAPANESE] TRACER BULLETS: 'Camouflage,' the tiger cat mascot of a Coast Guard-manned LST, is a playful fellow.  His idea of a rousing good time is to chase [Japanese] tracer bullets, when they burn across the deck of his ship.  A tracer would come ping and 'Camouflage' would dart from one rail to the other in hot, if futile, pursuit.  All this occurred, the cat's Coast Guard shipmates swear, when [Japanese] planes strafed the LST at Bouganville.  The cat's antics in the heat of those grim moments relieved the tension of the crew.  Here, 'Camouflage,' a thoughour seagoing, wargoing cat, is shown with Coast Guardsman Henry Richmond, Jr., an invasion veteran, of Sheboygan, WIS."  The photo is dated 30 March 1945.
A Coast Guard mascot "BOZO IN THE BRIG: 'Bozo,' mascot aboard a Coast Guard combat cutter in the Far North, chewed the captain's shoes.  Court-martialed and confined to the brig for conduct unbecoming a ship's mascot, 'Bozo' was defiant.  But when he stared through the porthole and saw the liberty party getting ready to cast off, he turned on his most repentant expression.  The skipper relented and Bozo went ashore in search of more trouble."
A Coast Guard mascot "THE JACK POT: 'Twas one of those shipboard romances.  'Gismo,' mascot of a Coast Guard-manned tanker, took up with a dog named 'Joe,' out there somewhere in the wide open spaces of the Pacific.  Having escaped from the [Japanese] and found refuge with the American forces, 'Joe' was lonely.  It was love at first bark.  So months passed, as months will, and came the day when 'Gismo' presented 'Joe' with nine (try and count 'em) nine puppies.  Here, two of 'Gismo's' shipmates admire the happy family.  They are Coast Guard Commander Benjamin F. Landland (left), skipper of the ship, of Milwaukee, Wis., and Coast Guardsman Nathan Appleman, Quartermaster Third Class, also of Milwaukee.  'Where's Joe?'  Oh, he jumped ship."
A Coast Guard mascot Here is Swallow, the mascot of the cutter Spencer.  He was rescued by the crew before the war and served on board the cutter throughout the conflict.
A Coast Guard mascot Steamboat, Ship's Dog First Class, the mascot of the Coast Guard-manned USS Eridanus (AK-92).  Cecil E. Bingham, a shipmate of Steamboat, told us that: "Steamboat was a friendly, intelligent mutt, mostly brown and white, possibly part beagle.  He was liked by everyone in the crew.  One dog for 150 men really received a lot of attention and he appreciated it very much. . .He had the run of the entire ship and was very adept at using ships ladders.  He would negotiate the ladders and visit from the flying bridge to the crews' quarters on the 'tween deck.
A Coast Guard mascot Mr. Bingham describes Steamboat's sad fate: "One day we were docked at a pier near the ferry building in San Francisco, our homeport, waiting to be loaded with cargo.  We had one hatch at the main deck and the 'tween deck below partially open to retrieve some ship's gear at the bottom of the lower hold since stevedores wouldn't handle anything but cargo.  Some of the crew and stevedores were standing on the unopened part of the hatch.  Steamboat jumped up to join them not realizing part of the hatch was open.  He fell about 50 feet to the bottom of the lower hold.  We quickly retrieved him and rushed him to sickbay.  Our doctor was aboard and he went to work with Steamboat, like he was a human member of the crew, but couldn't save him.  We decided to bury him at sea, so we sewed him up on a seabag weighted with cargo tie-down chain.  With a section of hatch cover for a pallet draped with the flag and a rifle salute we committed him to the deep in dock in San Francisco Bay.  It was very touching, and there wasn't a dry eye amongst anyone present.  On the lighter side there were a couple of civilian workers on the adjacent pier who, on hearing the rifle salute, removed their hats as Steamboat slid under the flag into the bay.  The stevedores felt so bad, the next day they brought us two new dogs for mascots."
A Coast Guard mascot Bozo, one of Steamboat's replacements.  Mr. Bingham remembered that he was named Bozo: "because he was [an] awkward clumsy pup but very likable."
A Coast Guard mascot Here is Eightball, the mascot of Coast Guard-manned USS LST-832.
A Coast Guard mascot Eightball, the mascot of Coast Guard-manned LST-832, learns how to waterski.
A Coast Guard mascot This is a photo of Jarman, a World War II Coast Guard veteran, just before he passed away at the ripe old age of 40 in 1974.  He started his military career in the Army as a caisson puller, but after his Army job was abolished he transferred to the Coast Guard.  During World War II, he served as a patrol horse with the Coast Guard's Beach Patrol, guarding Pismo Beach in San Luis Obispo County.  Here he is during his well-earned retirement, proudly wearing a blanket that bears his Coast Guard insignia. 
A photo of the Academy's mascot Bilgewater Here is Bilgewater, the mascot of the Coast Guard Academy, circa 1944.  He's modeling the new wartime grey cadet uniform cap.

 

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Last Modified 1/26/2012