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U.S. Coast Guard Oral History Program


Captain C. William Bailey, USCG (Ret.)
Master, Oceans, Unlimited, U.S. Merchant Marine

A photo of Captain Bill Bailey, USCG (Ret.)
(75 dpi)     (300 dpi)

Captain C. William "Bill" Bailey served in the Coast Guard for 30 years, joining as a newly minted ensign in early 1942 after first beginning a career in the merchant service.  During his illustrious Coast Guard career, he commanded nine cutters, including the icebeaker Eastwind and the HECs Coos Bay and Chase.  He participated in numerous rescues, including that of the freighter Ambassador, a rescue that received international attention "and led to Congressional reconsideration of a budget cut that would have delayed the construction of the new 378-foot cutters."  He retired in 1973 after serving as the Deputy Commander of the Eastern Area.  After his retirement he returned to the merchant service where he commanded four oil tankers.  Captain Bailey is also an accomplished musician and writer.

He recently offered his autobiographical writings to the Historian's Office and we gratefully accepted.  The articles first appeared on the website "Jack's Joint."  Read on and discover what "an old sea dog" remembers about his distinguished service to his country. . .

Tales of an Old Sea Dog

  • Alpha to Omega (1942): An interesting article, "USS Wakefield In Singapore"  in an issue of the Quarterdeck Log certainly awoke slumbering memories in this old sea dog ..........

  • Postwar Reminisces (1946): Pacific Buoy Tenders - Walnut had a beautiful steam whistle that sounded as loud as the fog horn on the old lightships.  When I blew it leaving the dock across the harbor from the District Office  it would rattle their  windows.  The Admiral forbade me to blow it before 8 o'clock in the morning.

  • The Venerable Cutter Gentian (1955): Come along with Captain Bailey and the Gentian as she services many Caribbean lights, most of which have long since been turned over to other countries.

  • Three Stories In One (1965-1966): Riding the QE II, an Admiralty Court experience, and escorting the Bark, "Eagle".

  • A Venerable Cutter (1968): Captain Bailey was the last commanding officer of the icebreaker Eastwind.

  • Letters From The Land Of The Ice (1968) This story told in a series of letters and photographs is of the last voyage of the venerable icebreaker Eastwind.  It is a large file and is in the Adobe PDF format.

  • Letters To Home (1969): Chase - Captain Bailey was one of the old "Sea Dogs" in the Coast Guard.  He commanded nine ships during his long career, the cutters Coos Bay, Eastwind, and Chase being the last three.  He was a man that showed great concern for his crews.  He implemented a policy of writing letters home to the crew's families and many of his friends.  This is one of those letters.


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Last Modified 1/12/2016