Coast Guard Pays Tribute to Surfman Who Died Attempting Rescue 75 Years Ago

ATLANTIC CITY, N.J. – A Coast Guardsman who died while attempting a rescue here 75 years ago was honored today by area Coast Guardsmen at Atlantic City Cemetery in Pleasantville, N.J.

About a dozen Coast Guardsmen attended a 10 a.m. memorial ceremony for William R. Garton, a surfman at Coast Guard Station Atlantic City, who was among five who died while responding to a distress call concerning a lost fishing vessel on March 6, 1932. Some of the Coast Guardsmen who were in attendance are certified as surfmen- boat operators, or coxswains, qualified to operate boats in heavy surf.

Sunday afternoon, March 6, 1932, southern New Jersey was feeling the effects of a “Nor’easter,” which brought to the area 60-knot winds and driving rain mixed with snow. The crew of Coast Guard Station Atlantic City received a distress call that the fishing vessel Anna, underway in a nearby fishing area, was lost.

The commanding officer of the station took two of his surfmen and launched aboard a 30-foot wooden picket boat to respond. While still enroute to the fishing area, the picket boat capsized. Employees at the Steel Pier, a nearby amusement area, saw the men in the water and reported the accident to the Coast Guard station. The commanding officer made it ashore, was hospitalized for days, and recoverd.

Going to the aid of their crewmates, three more surfmen launched aboard a 28-foot power surfboat. After entering the reported 18-foot seas, the surfboat and its crew were never seen or heard from again. The body of Garton, 19, was the only that was recovered.

The names of the five Coast Guardsmen who died are enscribed on a memorial tablet at Station Atlantic City: Surfman Harold Livingston; Surfman David Allen Barnett; Surfman William R. Garton; BM2/c(L) Marvin Eugene Rhoades; and MoMM2c(L) William Graham.

A color guard from Coast Guard Station Atlantic City prepares to march at Atlantic City Cemetery here, Tuesday, March 6, 2007. U.S. Coast Guard photograph by Petty Officer 1st Class George Plotts, Station Atlantic City

A color guard from Coast Guard Station Atlantic City prepares to march at Atlantic City Cemetery here, Tuesday, March 6, 2007. The color guard posted the national ensign and the Coast Guard standard at the onset of a memorial ceremony for a Coast Guardsmen who died while attempting a rescue 75 years ago.

Chief Warrant Officer Wes Parker, commanding officer of Coast Guard Station Barnegat Light, N.J., salutes the grave of William R. Garton at Atlantic City Cemetery here Tuesday, March 6, 2007.  U.S. Coast Guard photograph by Petty Officer 1st Class George Plotts, Station Atlantic City

Chief Warrant Officer Wes Parker, commanding officer of Coast Guard Station Barnegat Light, N.J., salutes the grave of William R. Garton at Atlantic City Cemetery here Tuesday, March 6, 2007.

An insignia featuring two boat oars crossed over a lifering is seen engraved on the headstone of William R. Garton Tuesday, March 6, 2007.  U.S. Coast Guard photograph by Petty Officer 1st Class George Plotts, Station Atlantic C

An insignia featuring two boat oars crossed over a lifering is seen engraved on the headstone of William R. Garton Tuesday, March 6, 2007.

U.S. Coast Guard photographs by Petty Officer 1st Class George Plotts, Station Atlantic City

  • Related Posts

    Comments are closed.