Today in Coast Guard History – January 12th

  • 1850- The wreck of Ayrshire on Squan Beach N.J. 201 of 202 persons on board were saved by the life car. First use of the life car in the U.S.
  • 1923- Title “Commandant” was authorized for the service head of the Coast Guard. This officer was to be selected from the active list of line officers not below grade of commander.
  • 1943- Coast Guardsmen participated in the landings at Amchitka, Alaska
  • 1961- Two Coast Guard craft from the Cape Disappointment Lifeboat Station [LBS], CG-40564 and CG-36454, answered a call for assistance from the 38-foot crab boat Mermaid, with two crew on board, which had lost its rudder near the breakers off Peacock Spit. CG-40564 located the Mermaid and took her in tow. Due to adverse sea conditions the crew of CG-40564 requested the assistance of CG-52301 “Triumph,” stationed at Point Adams LBS, which took up the tow upon her arrival on scene. Heavy breakers capsized CG-40564 and battered the CG-36454 but the 36-foot motor lifeboat [MLB] stayed afloat. The crew of 36454 then located and rescued the crew of the 40564 and then made for the Columbia River Lightship. The crew of the 36454 managed to deposit safely all on board the lightship before it too foundered. Soon thereafter a heavy breaker hit the Triumph which parted the tow line, set the Mermaid adrift, and capsized the Triumph. The crew of the Mermaid then rescued one of the six crewman on board Triumph. CG-36554 and CG-36535, also from the Point Adams LBS, then arrived on scene and 36535 took the Mermaid in tow. Another large breaker hit, snapping the 36535’s tow line and sinking the Mermaid. The cutter Yocona arrived on scene soon after CG aircraft UF 2G No. 1273 from Air Station Port Angeles and began searching for survivors. Other CG aircraft, including UF 2G 2131, UF 2G 1240 and HO 4S 1330, arrived and began dropping flares. Foot patrols from the life-boat stations searched the beaches as well and recovered one Coast Guard survivor. Ultimately five Coast Guard crewman, all from MLB CG-52301 Triumph, drowned, as did both of the Mermaid’s crew.

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