Coast Guard Auxiliary commemorates service’s North Carolina history

5th Coast Guard District NewsFORT MACON, N.C. — The Coast Guard Auxiliary unveiled a painting memorializing the Coast Guard Cutter Dione during Station Fort Macon’s celebration of the Coast Guard’s 221st anniversary here Thursday.

Traditionally active duty, reserve, retired and Auxiliary Coast Guardsmen, along with their families, gather every year to celebrate their service’s anniversary. In addition to the food, music and games, this year’s celebration at Fort Macon included the unveiling in the presence of two former crewmembers.

The North Carolina Coast Guard Auxiliary commissioned the painting to commemorate the service of the Coast Guard Cutter Dione, a 165-foot Patrol Craft that conducted convoy escorts and anti-submarine operations off the coast of North Carolina during World War II. The Dione was the only major U.S. asset dedicated to protecting the merchant vessels that transited the East Coast during the early months of World War II. During the course of the war, the crew aboard the Dione protected ships from German U-boat attacks but was never formally recognized for the ships service. The painting was presented to Capt. Anthony Popiel, commander of Coast Guard Sector North Carolina, by Auxiliary Commodore Steve McElroy.

The former crewmembers in attendance were Harrison Ochs, 86, from Missouri, and Al Connor, 93, Maryland.

“On Coast Guard day, it is only fitting to recognize the impressive service of the Dione during World War II,” said Popiel.”These men selflessly went in harm’s way to help our allied forces win the war. They are an important part of our Coast Guard heritage and the rich maritime history of North Carolina.”

The Coast Guard traces it history back to Aug. 4, 1790 when Congress authorized Secretary of the Treasury Alexander Hamilton to create the Revenue Cutter Service, a maritime service to enforce the new nation’s customs laws. The Revenue Cutter Service would eventually merge with the U.S. Life-Saving Service on Jan. 18, 1915, to create the modern Coast Guard. Several other agencies including the U.S. Lighthouse Service, the Bureau of Steamboat Inspection and the Bureau of Navigation were added to the Coast Guard in following years.

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