Coast Guard participates in 80th anniversary remembrance ceremonies for Station Atlantic City crew

5th Coast Guard District NewsATLANTIC CITY, N.J. — The Coast Guard held a remembrance ceremony at Union (South Dennis) Cemetery, in Dennisville, at 10 a.m. and attended a second led by the local American Legion post in Longport, at 2 p.m. Tuesday.

The 80th anniversary ceremonies honored the sacrifice of Coast Guard Station Atlantic City motor lifeboat surfmen during a search and rescue mission March 6, 1932, during which only one of the six rescuers survived.

The first ceremony, hosted by crewmembers from Coast Guard Station Atlantic City and Station Barnegat Light, was held at the grave site of Surfman Harold “Hal” Livingston and the second ceremony, led by members of Longport American Legion Post 469, was held at Kretchmer Pavilion in Longport.

On that day, southern New Jersey was feeling the affect of a nor’easter, which brought 60-knot winds, heavy seas and rain mixed with snow. The crew of Station Atlantic City received a distress call that the fishing vessel Anna, underway in a nearby fishing area, was lost.

Lt. Jim Turner, the commanding officer of the station, took two of his surfmen and launched a 30-foot wooden boat to respond. While still on their way to the fishing area, the response boat capsized. Employees at the Steel Pier, a nearby amusement area, saw the men in the water and reported the accident to the station. Turner made it ashore and was hospitalized for days before he recovered.

Going to the aid of their shipmates, three more surfmen launched a 28-foot power surfboat. After entering the 18-foot seas, the surfboat and its crew were never seen or heard from again. The bodies of Surfman William R. Garton, 19, and Livingston, 24, were the only ones recovered.

“By carrying out this event every year, we honor the dedication and sacrifice of those who came before us,” said Lt. Cmdr. Jeffrey Craig, commanding officer of Station Atlantic City. “This tragedy also serves as a stark reminder of the dangers our young men and women face when responding to mariners in distress and while conducting training in extreme heavy weather and surf conditions.”

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