Today in Coast Guard History – March 27th

  • 1943- CG-85006 (ex-Catamount) exploded off Ambrose Light. Nine crewmen were lost.
  • 1964- An earthquake (which hit 9.2 on the Richter scale) and an ensuing tsunami struck Alaska, killing 125 people and causing $311 million in property damage. Coast Guard units responded in what was called “Operation Helping Hand.” Within two hours of the earthquake, which began at 1732 local time, the cutters Storis, Minnetonka, and Sorrel were ordered to Prince William Sound; the Bittersweet to Seward; and the Sedge to Valdez. “The following morning, three fixed-wing aircraft from Air Detachment Kodiak surveyed the damage while helicopters evacuated those in need. By March 31, most of the direct assistance had been rendered and the task of repair and clean up began. Approximately 360 civilians were evacuated from villages and isolated areas in Kodiak Island and Prince William Sound. The Storis was diverted to Cook Inlet for icebreaking duties in the Port of Anchorage until 18 April.” [Arbogast, et al, The U.S. Coast Guard in Kodiak, Alaska, p. 15.] A number of the Coast Guard stations in the area sustained damage, some of it severe. The only Coast Guard fatality occurred when the tsunami struck the light station at Cape St. Elias and one crewman, EN3 Frank O. Reed, was swept out to sea and perished.
  • 2003- Coast Guard cutter Wrangell, homeported in Portland, Maine, along with a Coast Guard HH-65 Dolphin helicopter from Air Station Honolulu, escorted the first waterborne humanitarian aid shipment into the port of Umm Qasr without incident, while members of Coast Guard Port Security Unit 311, from San Pedro, Calif., assisted other coalition forces protecting the harbor. The shipment, consisting of vital aid donated by numerous countries, was carried aboard the British ship RFA Sir Galahad.

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