One of Alan Meeker's stories

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​After graduation from Coast Guard “boot camp” at Cape May, New Jersey, I was given a choice of districts where I wanted to be assigned. I chose the “9th’, which was the Great Lakes area. I was sent to the First Coast Guard District, New England, the biggest district at the time. When I arrived at Boston Coast Guard Base, the district office, again was given a choice where I would like to be stationed. After looking over the list of ships and stations, I chose Chatham LBS, on Cape Cod. I did not know anything about it, not even the correct way to say the name. A bus took me to Hyannis, halfway down “The Cape.” There was no transportation the remaining 20 miles. I had to either “hoof it“, or spend the money on a taxi. I chose taking a taxi. Located high on a bluff, over looking a portion of North Beach and the safe harbor of Old Harbor, was Chatham LBS and Chatham Light. Very impressive. I was introduced to the station Officer in Charge, Chief Bernard C. Webber and his two BM1s, Livecy and Ferreira, as well as the rest of the 21 man crew. Then I met the Group Commander CW4 Merritt O. Wright . Not only was this the office for Chatham LBS, it was also “GROUP CAPE COD, ”the group office for all of Cape Cod and the Islands. The islands included Martha’s Vineyard and Nantucket as well as the other smaller islands and the Light ships: Pollock, Stonehorse, Nantucket and Cross Rip.. Chatham had a big boathouse on Stage Harbor, a 30 footer, a 40 foot utility boat, two 36 footers, (the CG36436 tied up in “Stage Harbor,” at the boathouse and the CG36500 tied up in “Old Harbor.”) An amphibious vehicle, a DUKW parked at the station house.. As Seamen, our job, among others, was to maintain it all and mow the lawn. During the summer, we spent a lot of time “boarding” private boats, fishing boats registered and Documented, checking registrations, required safety equipment, etc. We also went out on rescues of boats out of gas, lost their sail or power, sinking or on fire. We went looking for “overdue vessels. Some never told family or friends their boating plans, similar to a “flight plan for planes. We would make “Comm Checks”-- we would jump in station vehicles and go to nearby harbors looking for those overdue boats, on the chance they might have come in to another safe harbor and not called in, to say that they were alive and well, the courteous thing to do. This happened sometimes. During the fall and winter, we would concentrate on scraping and painting of the boats and boat house as well as the interior of the station house. Year-round one of the crew had to “stand watch” in the tower for at least two, if not four hours. The responsibilities were: Radio; Switchboard; Radar; Teletype; Lookout watch stander. As a watch stander at Chatham, we were “Group Cape Cod.” All radio traffic from any station on Cape Cod , the Lightships and the Islands, went through the tower at Chatham. Straight out from the station, about 6.1 miles, was the Pollock L/V, guarding Pollock Rip from passing boats and ships. Around the corner, on the other side of Morris Island, was Stonehorse L/V, guarding boats from straying on to Stonehorse Shoal and the nearby sandy beach. Chatham station ran logistics to both of them. We would bring out supplies and crew members returning from leave. Leaving them for Chatham, we would bring ashore those crewmen going on accrued leave. We were busy year-round.
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  Page No. 46
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Page No. 46