There are now 6 crew members, that was on board the Spar's voyage together,
David V. Wood, Executive Officer on board the Spar wlb--403
Click onto image below to enlarge
Posted on 21, Oct. 2014
Click onto news paper clipping below to read about Dave's home coming from the SPAR'S journey.
he was met by his wife Paula, and two sons, Kenneth, Geoffrey and one on the way, and his name is Peter.
Click onto image below to enlarge.
1962-64: ENS/LTJG, USCGC SORREL (WAGL 296), Sitka, Alaska1964-66: LTJG, Aids to Navigation and Reserve branches, D1 Boston1966-67: LT, XO of USCGC SPAR (WLB-403), Bristol, RI1967-68: LT, XO of USCGC CACTUS (WLB-270), Bristol, RI1968-69: LT, Assistant Chief, AtoN Branch, D13, Seattle, WA1969-73: LT/LCDR, English Instructor (academic year) CG Academy and watch officer CGC EAGLE (summers)1973-75: LCDR, CO USCGC MADRONA (WLB-302), Portsmouth, VA1975-77: LCDR, Staff Assistant to Regional Representative of the Secretary of Transportation, Cambridge, MA1977-79: CDR, XO CGC SHERMAN (WHEC-720), Boston, MA (home port change to Alameda CA last 4 months of tour)1979-81: CDR, Chief Readiness Branch, D1 Boston1981-82: CDR, Student College of Naval Warfare, US Naval War College, Newport, RI1982-84: CDR, CO USCGC BIBB (WHEC 31), New Bedford, MA1984-85: CAPT, Chief Surface Facilities Branch, SAR Division, USCG HQ Washington DC1985-88: CAPT, USCG Advisor to the President, Naval War College, Newport RI1988-92: CAPT, CO USGC EAGLE (WIX-327), New London, CT All told, starting with the SPAR voyage in 1966
I made ten Atlantic crossings in USCG Cutters during my career--not bad for a "shallow water sailor."
Click onto: each ship to enlarge, 7 ships David Wood served on.
No. 1 No. 2 No. 3
No. 4 No. 5 No. 6
U.S.C.G. Cutter Eagle (WIX-327)
USCGC BIBB W 31
USCGC SHERMAN (WHEC-720)
15 Minute: run time
Click onto the U.S. Coast Guard Cutter Eagle to see her
Page No. 42
U.S. Coast Guard
Click below: for 18 Pages of
original Spar wlb 403 "1966"
Cruise, PDF format
Captain David Wood's page
Page No. 42
Independent Maritime Professional
Contact “Independent Maritime Professional” directly through InMail
The Discovery of the SPAR'S-403 Website, was on - 19 Oct. 2015,
and the Acknowledgement of David Wood's find ...
It's an official CCGDONE photo with a "1966" date on the back
Below a news paper clipping, from the Bristol RI, posted
by Lieutenant David Wood at the time of our return in Oct."1966"
Click onto image to enlarge.
Posted on 19, Oct. 2014
I came across your web site this morning quite by accident: there was a piece in the morning paper about the new SPAR assisting in getting a disabled ship away from the BC coast, and it prompted me to Google that ship, as I hadn't been aware the CG had given the name to one of the new class of WLB. In the process,
I came across your site. I was XO (a brand new Lieutenant) under Frank Flynn on that trip in 1966, and it remains one of the greatest of my many USCG adventures. I stayed in the Guard for a full 30 years, commanded the MADRONA, BIBB, and EAGLE (my last hurrah). It was a great career, and I can say I remember only a couple of bad days. I retired in 1992 and lived in RI from then until just a few months ago, when my wife and I moved to a retirement community in Maine. I would love to hear about your
subsequent life; you obviously retain a fondness of the USCG.
Best regards, and thanks for a terrific job on the web site! It brought back many great memories.
CAPT, USCG (Ret.)
Thank you David. Its official now, there are 6 of us. Being an officer I wonder if you ever knew why they wanted so many crew members a 102 to be exact, also why are hours were 6 on & 6 off. That was one of the first things that was told to me when we departed Bristol. There was only a handful of chiefs and for them to work and time to sleep gave them no leisure time, like now, 8 on 8 work & 8 sleep. Daily routine, but not for the chiefs. The crew was doubled up and calculated to go on as the chiefs, 6 & 6. Officers I'm not sure what there hours were. So we were working right along with the chiefs. Those hours sucked for me, my first thought when coming into Bristol, was wow!! back to a normal routine.
Yeoman Yates and I were good friends on the cruise, I have a picture of him somewhere on the site.
10 crossings, that's something not a lot of people can say, you crossed over the Titanic many times especially if you zigzagged across the Atlantic. The music on the page is up to you Dave. I have some odds and ends to add, but its started to build on. I am just sitting here staring at your duty stations and rank and rates. You have to have had a camera.... When I look back I had my Mom's windup Kodak camera, rolls of 12 & 24, some B/W. You had to make sure its a picture worthy of taken. Today, I have my camera set at 2 Million MP's, and can shoot 10,000 images. I have found from my own pictures to the 4 other shipmates, not many people took pictures of the berthing area, rarest photos to obtain. I wont ask after this, I don't want to become a nu sense to you. You have any photos, and captions if you wanted, its all up to you, its work but well worth it when its completed. The work then is on me, any resolution to-ups, widescreen 1080p H.D.
PS. I would like to hear from you sometimes about the swell coming at us were 70 to 90, your reactions. I know we had to tie ourselves in our bunks. Once again Dave if you want to change anything just let me know.
I was not the new OCS ensign who came aboard just before we sailed; that would have been Dwight Broga. He eventually retired as a LCDR, and I encountered him from time to time in later years. He died (at a relatively young age) probably 8-10 years ago.
I don't think we evacuated anybody by helicopter, but the Norwegian Air Force had to fly out to evacuate a seaman (I think his name was Ciuciolo) the corpsman thought he might have appendicitis, but I think he was mostly trying to get off the ship. He was flown back to Norway to a hospital, where they decided he didn't have appendicitis, and he eventually rejoined us in Tromso.
From your very good weather data, looks as though we would have crossed paths with Tropical Storm DOROTHY enroute from Argentia to Keflavik, but I can't say that I remember that one.
Don't remember if I told you I attended the decommissioning ceremony of SPAR in Portland, Maine in February 1997; can't remember how I heard about it, but I think a CG friend remembered that I had served on her, and I got an invitation.
I'm fine with your posting my emails, or at least pertinent extracts from them.
I've attached a scan of a little story that appeared in the Bristol Phoenix when we returned, with a picture of me and my family; the lad with his arms around my neck turned 50 last year and the other one will next month. Don't know how well the picture will work on your site--as a news clipping it's pretty low resolution--but use it if you like.
All the best, Dave Wood
And yes, I did have an email from Jim Malone
and have responded; we swapped a couple of stories, it was great to connect. I'll try to think of some others, and of an appropriate song if you really want to put one up.
A letter below, written by David Wood, to his Dad, on
18 October 1966
As I'm sure you know, I'm back--we arrived in Bristol last Monday afternoon, four days later than was originally intended. The delay was due partly to the fact that whoever worked out the original schedule apparently forgot that there were only 30 days in September, but mostly to bad weather. We ran into four successive gales on the crossing from Belfast to Argentia, and the third one (which we encountered only 400 miles short of Argentia) was so bad we were 'hove to' for more than two days in 60-knot winds and 35-40 foot seas--making less than 100 miles in 48 hours."
Thanks for the quick response. Not surprised you don't remember me, it was a long time ago and you were in the engine room while I was on the bridge or the ship's office most of the time. I do remember Leonard Johnson, we got to be pretty good friends--took a sightseeing trip in Iceland together--and he later came down to visit the Eagle in Norfolk when I was there for a port call many years later. I have a copy of his published article on the survey somewhere, but not sure where it is right now--we just moved and a lot of stuff is still in boxes.
The storm I remember most was the one coming home in October, between Greenland and Labrador, when we started to worry about taking seawater down the stack and shorting out the main board. What struck me at the time was that if we became disabled and needed assistance, we were too far away and the weather was too bad for anyone to get out to us. But those 180s were tough, and we made it through; I served on 4 altogether, SORREL, SPAR, CACTUS, and MADRONA. I don't know if you were still aboard, but in 1967 (I think) we took SPAR to Boston and swapped her for the CACTUS; the GAO had done a study and concluded that there were more WLBs in the First District than were required, and they wanted to keep the more modern C-class (SPAR) for AtoN; we pretty much spent the rest of my tour (until June 1968) doing oceanographic work for the Navy.
Pretty sure the EO for the trip was Beecher Rapp--quite a character. I was in HQ in 1984 when he died. Frank Flynn, of course, died quite a long time ago as well. Lyle Dever (the CHBOSN) is still living and in SW Harbor, Maine; I hope to drop in and see him some time, I have a son who lives there.
Only thing I've got that you might be interested in is the Arctic Circle certificate; it's got my name on it, of course, but in case you didn't get one (I didn't notice it on your site) you're welcome to post it.
Thanks for the EAGLE slide show--most of the pictures were after my time (1988-92), but it's a really nice job and nearly brought tears to my eyes.
Again, thanks for the great job on the web site, and I'll keep watching for comments!
All the best, and Semper Paratus--
Posted on 9 Jan 2015
I guess my memory is patchy, but keep in mind that I had spent two years on a 180’ tender (SORREL) based in Sitka, Alaska. Although most of our buoys were in the fjords and straits of southeast Alaska, we also had responsibility for all the buoys on the outer coast from the southern tip of Baranof Island to Yakutat and Icy Bay (the two indentations on the coast between Chigagof Island and Cordova), as well as a 100-mile run up the coast every two weeks to resupply Cape Spencer Lighthouse, which marks the entrance to Cross Sound (you can look these places up); but there’s a map below. We also averaged about 35 SAR cases a year, most of them fishing vessels offshore (don’t know if you’ve ever watched “The Deadliest Catch” . . .). In the winter, the Gulf of Alaska can be as rough as it gets anywhere in the world. I recall one trip up the coast with a load of supplies on deck for a Loran station at Yakutat when I was on watch and we were heading into the seas, and I was looking up at the crest of the next wave we were heading into—I estimated it at a height of 40-45 feet. That’s still the roughest I've ever seen; what we had in SPAR coming back from Ireland, between Greenland and Newfoundland, was just about as bad; but I had the benefit of knowing that a 180 could take it.
When I get the logs from the Archives, I should be able to provide more detail
on what the conditions were, and I’ll try to write something up at that point.
All the best! Dave
Typically on a 180 the deck officers would stand watch 4 hours on and 8 off. When I was a junior officer on the SORREL, I started out standing watches with the XO (0400-0800 and 1600-2000) until I was qualified to stand watch on my own, then I stood the mid-watch and afternoon watch (0000-0400 and 1200-1600). The complement of deck officers in those days was three, including the BOSN, so when we were at sea for any length of time we were on watch 8 hours in every 24, and we all had a lot of collateral duties as well. On a ship at sea, of course--at least in the military--nobody is ever "off duty."
The 1966 trip was, of course, unusual in a lot of ways, especially for a buoy tender, which typically has an assigned area of operations and is responsible for maintaining and servicing the buoys in that area; usually not away from port for more than a few days. With a major oceanographic survey to conduct, SPAR was going to spend a lot of time at sea and supporting the survey detachment was probably a full time job, so my recollection is that the BOSN--Lyle Dever--probably didn't regularly stand bridge watches because he had his hands full with the oceanographic equipment. That's undoubtedly the reason we were assigned a third junior officer, so that (once they were qualified) they could assume all the bridge watches.
As Executive Officer, I was responsible for all the administrative functions of the ship, mainly personnel and supply--"ship's business"--and was also navigator, so that every day I worked with Leonard Johnson to provide an accurate chart of where we had surveyed, plan the next legs of the survey, etc. We had a prototype Loran-C set installed for navigation, something no other ships then had (it was a long time before GPS!), to insure an accurate record of the survey. It had been introduced in aircraft relatively recently, and that's what we had--a navigation receiver designed for an aircraft, and it operated on 400Hz current rather than standard 110Hz for electric supply on board. So we had to do provide a special power supply for the set, though I can't remember how we did it. My recollection is that we may have had a QMC assigned for the trip as well, when typically a 180 would have a QM1. And of course we had a YN (Doyle Yates) and an SK, whose name I've forgotten, in the ship's office.
Simple answer to your question: officers were all on duty all the time, whether they were standing watches or doing paperwork. As XO, it was my job to make sure they kept busy and got their work done well and on time, and the CO (Frank Flynn) had the same responsibility for the whole crew. Which is not to say that we didn't have time for cribbage, or acey-deucey, or whatever once in a while.Nice picture of Doyle Yates. I've found a Doyle Yates on Face Book and sent him an email, but he hasn't responded. I don't know if he's the same one, but he's about the right age and is a successful realtor in Arkansas. Here's the picture: see what you think. Don't post it unless we can confirm.I haven't had a chance to look for logs yet, but I was successful in getting SORREL's
logs for the article I sent you, some I'm going to try next week.
Posted on 10_26_2014
This conversation is a lot of fun! First of all, you should have all 18 pages of the OpOrder, in three separate PDF files. If you don't, let me know and I'll try again.
Second, following is a link to the Wikipedia entry on Mount Beerenberg, the volcano at the northeast end of Jan Mayen; you will see that it has erupted several times since our visit in 1966: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Beerenberg
Thirdly, a bit of context: the Loran-C station at Jan Mayen was operated by the Norwegian Air Force, and it was there almost entirely for the purpose of providing navigational aids for the US Navy ballistic missile submarines, and USAF strategic bombers, which patrolled in or near the Norwegian Sea at a time when the Cold War was at its height. The station--like others in the Loran chain--was supported by the US, and operated by the armed forces of Norway, a staunch NATO ally. As you can imagine, there wasn't much commercial shipping or aviation at that latitude, so the purpose of maintaining a precision navigation system in that part of the world was almost purely military.
And that was also the reason the Navy funded our mission; the scientists on board SPAR were civilians, of course, and people like Leonard Johnson were mostly interested in the geological knowledge to be gained about the Mid-Atlantic Ridge, but the Navy wanted to have accurate maps of the sea floor so that its submarines could sneak through the underwater canyons safely without being detected by the Soviets. Seems pretty likely that the Soviet trawler that stalked SPAR for a good deal of the time suspected as much. As an interesting side note, a good friend of mine, a classmate and colleague at the Naval War College, was a Navy nuclear submariner for most of his career; he retired in Newport just as I did, and we used to have coffee together most mornings. One day we were swapping sea stories, and discovered that he had been in an SSBN (probably as XO) patrolling in the same area as we were operating--and at the same time!
Now about our stop at Jan Mayen: it certainly was not a scheduled stop, and it may have been that we went there to medevac SA Ciuciolo because of his suspected appendicitis (by the way, do you remember the name of the corpsman on board? I don't but I remember that he was independent duty qualified, and was very good). I do recall that a Norwegian air force amphibian (probably a Catalina) landed while we were anchored there, and I suspect that was the reason; I think the station got a logistics flight about once a week or so. In any case, it was a great opportunity to let the crew get ashore and have a beer or two, and I expect the crew of the station were at least as glad to have some visitors. I will never forget the method they had for launching and recovering the lifeboat they used to shuttle us ashore an back; very impressive operation. And the island itself was one of the most extraordinary places I have ever visited--a windswept volcano in the middle of a lonely ocean. While writing an article for the Oxford Encylopedia of Maritime History, I discovered a book by a Scottish nobleman (later governor-general of Canada) about a sailing voyage he took in 1856 in his yacht from Scotland to Iceland, Jan Mayen, and Spitzbergen. The book is entitled Letters from High Latitudes: long out of print, but popular in its day. Anyway, I can understand why you treasure your little souvenir rock!
So, I expect that SPAR's stop at Jan Mayen was for an official (if emergency) reason, and I'd be pretty sure that LCDR Flynn would have had to get authorization to do it--I made similar unscheduled stops in foreign countries when I was in command of EAGLE--but it would have been arranged by radio.
More of an answer than you were expecting, probably, but I hope you find it helpful--and interesting!
I think this image above of the Spar was taken in Keflavik when we fueled there, but it could have been in Tromso, too except I think there was snow on the mountains there.
Posted on Jan. 9 -2015
I don’t remember what I said originally (probably could find it), but I may not have said anything about
my history prior to SPAR. So here it is in a nutshell:
Graduated from Amherst College (Mass.) in 1960
Started USCG OCS in Yorktown, VA in February, 1962
Commissioned ENS, USCGR in June 1962, assigned to USCGC SORREL (WAGL 296) in Sitka, Alaska
Promoted to LTJG, USCGR in December 1963, reassigned to CCGDONE Boston in the Aids to Navigation Branch
Released to the reserve from active duty in June 1965 on completion of required 3 years active duty, started graduate school at Harvard School of Education In September 1965 I decided to return to active duty, but wasn’t recalled until promoted to LT on 1 July 1966, whereupon I reported to SPAR in Bristol as Executive Officer; we sailed for the Arctic two weeks later.
You know the next two years already, but I’ll explain a little about officer progression in rank so it makes more sense. In those days—and it hasn’t changed much, I think—an officer’s career begins as an Ensign (one stripe), and he/she typically serves 18 months at that grade before begin promoted to Lieutenant (junior grade) (one and a half stripes); promotion to Lieutenant (two stripes) comes about four years after commissioning, and to Lieutenant Commander (two and a half stripes) about four years later. Promotion to Commander (three stripes) typically comes at about fifteen years, and to Captain (four stripes) at around 20-22 years. Mandatory retirement at 30 years of commissioned service, unless you get promoted to “Flag rank”, and there are four grades of admiral: O-7 (RDML), O-8 (RADM), O-9 (VADM) and O-10 (ADM). There’s only one O-10 in the Coast Guard, the Commandant.
Service equivalents (Army, Air Force, and Marine Corps vs. Navy & USCG) are as follows:
2nd Lt = ENS (O-1)
1st Lt = LTJG (O-2)
Capt = LT (O-3)
Major = LCDR (O-4)
Lt. Col.= CDR (O-5)
Col.= CAPT (O-6)
I’m happy to work on the page about me and the SPAR’s 1966 cruise, although I don’t think I’ll come up with a whole lot more about the cruise until I get the logs. If you mean you want to include the whole history of my Coast Guard career, that’s a pretty big order and I’d have to have a better idea of what you want to include. It would be fun to write, and would take some time. I’ve certainly got lots of pictures and sea stories to tell—especially from my EAGLE tour—but is that what you really have in mind?
So anyhow, stay warm and keep up the good work!
Click onto Spar below to watch 8 MM film from "1966"
Posted on 3_26_2017_ Sunday
In answer to your question, the SPAR was my third USCG assignment. I was a deck officer on the SORREL in
Sitka, Alaska for 2 years ('62-'64) and then on the D1 staff for 2 years. I had been Acting XO on the SORREL for my last 2 months of my tour.
Dave V. V. Wood