U.S. Coast Guard Cutter Spar
WLB - 403 out of Bristol RI.
liked the proud names of Coast Guard I liked standing on
the bridge wing at sunrise with salt spray in my face and clean ocean
winds whipping in from the four quarters of the globe - - the cutter beneath
me feeling like a living thing as her engines drove her swiftly through the
I liked the
sounds of the Coast Guard - the piercing trill of the boatswains pipe, the
syncopated clangor of the ship's bell on the quarterdeck, the harsh squawk
of the PA system, and the strong language and laughter of sailors at
CG vessels --nervous darting 255s, plodding buoy tenders,
and light ships, sleek 327s and the steady solid hum of the twin engines
on the HH16E.ships: USS Bayfield, USS Cavalier, USCGC Taney, USCGC Cosmos,
the Wind class Icebreakers and the USCGC Bibb just to name a few.
I liked the lean angular
names of CG "shallow water cutters" the 82 footers, Pt Hudson, Pt lookout,
Cape Trinity and the Cape Higgon. Named for locations around the states. I
liked liberty call and the spicy scent of a foreign port.
liked the never ending paperwork and all hands working
parties as my ship filled herself with the multitude of supplies, both
mundane and to cut ties to the land and carry out her mission anywhere on
the globe where there was water to float her.
liked sailors, officers and enlisted men from all parts
of the land, farms of the Midwest, small towns of New England, from the
cities, the mountains and the prairies, from all walks of life. I trusted
and depended on them as they trusted and depended on me - for professional
competence, for comradeship, for strength and courage. In a word, they
were "shipmates"; then and forever.
I liked the surge of
adventure in my heart, when the word was passed: "Now set the special sea
and anchor detail - all hands to mooring stations for leaving port," and I
liked the infectious thrill of sighting home again, with the waving hands of
welcome from family and friends waiting pier side. The work was hard and
dangerous; the going rough at times; the parting from loved ones painful, but
the companionship of robust CG laughter, the "all for one and one for all"
philosophy of the sea was ever present.
liked the serenity of the sea after a day of hard ship's
work, as flying fish flitted across the wave tops and sunset gave way to
night. I liked the feel of the CG Cutter in darkness - the masthead and
range lights, the red and green navigation lights and stern light, the
pulsating phosphorescence of radar repeaters - they cut through the dusk
and joined with the mirror of stars overhead. And I liked drifting off to sleep lulled by the
myriad noises large and small that told me that my ship was alive and well,
and that my shipmates on watch would keep me safe.
I liked quiet
mid-watches with the aroma of strong coffee and PBJ sandwiches -- the
lifeblood of the CG permeating everywhere. And
I liked hectic watches when
the exacting minuet of
haze-gray shapes racing at flank speed kept all
hands on a razor edge of alertness.
I liked the sudden
electricity of "General quarters, general quarters, all hands man your
battle stations," followed by the hurried clamor of running feet on ladders
and the resounding thump of watertight doors as the ship transformed
herself in a few brief seconds from a peaceful workplace to a weapon of war
-- ready for anything. And I liked the sight of space-age equipment manned by
youngsters clad in dungarees and sound-powered phones that their
grandfathers would still recognize.
I liked the
traditions of the CG and the men and women who served so valiantly. These
few gave so much in service to their country. A sailor could find much in
the CG: comrades-in-arms, pride in self and country, mastery of the seaman's
trade. An adolescent could find adulthood. In years to come, when sailors
are home from the sea, they will still remember with fondness and respect the
ocean in all its moods - the impossible shimmering mirror calm and the
storm-tossed green water surging over the bow. And then there will come again
a faint whiff of stack gas, a faint echo of engine and rudder orders, a
vision of the bright bunting of signal flags snapping at the yardarm, a
refrain of hearty laughter in the wardroom and chief's quarters and mess
decks. Gone ashore for good they will grow wistful about their CG days, when
the seas belonged to them and a new port of call was ever over the horizon.
Remembering this, they will stand taller and say,
"I WAS AND AM A COAST GUARDSMAN".
"ONCE A COAST GUARDSMAN ALWAYS A COAST
Submitted by George F. Posted on, 11
/ 05 / 2011
U.S.C.G.C. SPAR Museum
Click onto photos below for the ( The Spar Museum )
his tour of duty on the
Click onto film cell to
enlarge - actual 8 MM film strip "1966"
Everyone on board the Spar received this card for
crossing the Arctic Circle
Click onto it to read
Click below, for the Spar Museum
Coast Guard we once knew
No. 1 No. 2 No. 3 No. 4
No. 5 No. 6 No. 7 No. 8
No. 9 No. 10 No. 11 No. 12
The "A" Class or Cactus Class
USCGC Balsam (WLB-62) (http://www.uscg.mil/history/webcutters/Balsam1941.asp)
Alaskan Fishing Vessel Baranof(Baranof Fisheries, Seattle)
USCGC Cactus (WLB-270)(http://www.uscg.mil/history/webcutters/Cactus1941.pdf)
USCGC Cowslip (WLB-277) (http://www.uscg.mil/history/webcutters/Cowslip1942.asp)
Serving in Nigeria as the NNS Ologbo A-502
USCGC Woodbine (WLB-289)(http://www.uscg.mil/history/webcutters/Woodbine1942.pdf)
Being scrapped by breakers in Mexico
USCGC Gentian (WLB-290) (http://www.uscg.mil/history/webcutters/Gentian_1942.asp)
Serving In Columbia as ARC San Andres PO-45
USCGC Laurel (WLB-291) (http://www.uscg.mil/history/webcutters/Laurel1942.asp)
Being used as a leased party boat for large parties in Trinidad-Tobago.
USCGC Clover (WLB-292) (http://www.uscg.mil/History/webcutters/Clover1941.asp)
USN sunk as a target on 26 June 1990
USCGC Evergreen (WLB-295) (http://www.uscg.mil/history/webcutters/Evergreen1943.asp)
USN sunk as a target on 25 November 1992
USCGC Sorrel (WLB-296) (http://www.uscg.mil/History/webcutters/Sorrel1943.asp)
Privately owned coastal freighter MV Fearless. Appears in March 2011 Starbuck's commercial "SUE" (06/2011)
USCGC Citrus (WLB-300) (http://www.uscg.mil/History/webcutters/Citrus1942.asp)
Dominican Republic as Almirante Juan Alejandro Acosta (456)
USCGC Conifer (WLB-301) (http://www.uscg.mil/History/webcutters/Conifer1943.asp)
Serving in Louisiana missionary organization Friendships as the MV Hope
USCGC Madrona (WLB-302) (http://www.uscg.mil/history/webcutters/Madrona1943.asp)
Serving in El Salvador as Manuel Jose Arce (BL-01)
USCGC Tupelo (WLB-303) (http://www.uscg.mil/history/webcutters/Tupelo1943.asp)
Alaskan FV Courageous (Baranof Fisheries, Seattle)
The "B" Class or Mesquite Class
USCGC Ironwood (WLB-297)(http://www.uscg.mil/history/webcutters/Ironwood_1943.pdf)
Tongue Point Job Corp Center, training vessel Ironwood
USCGC Mesquite (WLB-305)(http://www.uscg.mil/history/webcutters/mesquite1943.pdf)
Lake Superior dive attraction in the Keeweenaw Underwater Preserve
USCGC Buttonwood (WLB-306) (http://www.uscg.mil/history/webcutters/Buttonwood1942.asp)
Serving in the Dominican Republic Almirante Didiez Burgos (301)
USCGC Planetree (WLB-307) (http://www.uscg.mil/history/webcutters/Planetree1943.asp)
Stored in Suisun Bay Reserve Fleet (Jan 2010 inventory)
USCGC Papaw (WLB-308) (http://www.uscg.mil/history/webcutters/Papaw1943.pdf)
Serving in a Lousiana missionary organization Friendships as the MV MerSea
USCGC Sweetgum (WLB-309) (http://www.uscg.mil/history/webcutters/Sweetgum1943.asp)
Serving in Panama as SMN Independencia A-401 The "C" Class or Basswood Class
USCGC Basswood (WLB-388) (http://www.uscg.mil/history/webcutters/Basswood1943.asp)
Recycled in the fall of 2012 in California.
USCGC Bittersweet (WLB-389)(http://www.uscg.mil/history/webcutters/Bittersweet1943.pdf)
Serves in Estonia as the Valvas PVL-109
USCGC Blackhaw (WLB-390) (http://www.uscg.mil/history/webcutters/Blackhaw1943.pdf)
USN sunk as target in June 1997 off Puerto Rico
USCGC Blackthorn (WLB-391) (http://www.uscg.mil/history/webcutters/Blackthorn1944.asp)
Scuttled off of Clearwater, Florida as fish habitat reef
USCGC Bramble (WLB-392) (http://www.uscg.mil/history/webcutters/Bramble1943.asp)
Privately owned by Robert B. and Sara Klingler and is moored at the Seaway Terminal in Port Huron, Michigan
USCGC Firebush (WLB-393) (http://www.uscg.mil/history/webcutters/Firebush_1944.asp)
Serves in Nigeria as NNS Nwamba (cat) A-503
USCGC Hornbeam (WLB-394)(http://www.uscg.mil/history/webcutters/Hornbeam_1944.asp)
Privately owned in Florida renamed Rum Cay Grace
USCGC Iris (WLB-395)(http://www.uscg.mil/history/webcutters/Iris_1944.pdf)
Stored in Suisun Bay Reserve Fleet (Jan 2010 inventory)
USCGC Mallow (WLB-396) (http://www.uscg.mil/history/webcutters/Mallow1944.asp)
Recycled in Maryland in the spring of 2012.
USCGC Mariposa (WLB-397) (http://www.uscg.mil/history/webcutters/Mariposa1944.asp)
Recycled in Oregon in the fall of 2012.
USCGC Redbud (WLB-398) (http://www.navsource.org/archives/09/14/14398.htm)
Serves in Philippine CG as Kalinga AG-89
USCGC Sagebrush (WLB-399)(http://www.uscg.mil/history/webcutters/Sagebrush1944.asp)
Scuttled 28 April, 1988 off Georgia coast as a reef
USCGC Salvia (WLB-400) (http://www.uscg.mil/history/webcutters/Salvia1944.asp)
Serves as a USNS training hulk at Little Creek, Virginia
USCGC Sassafras (WLB-401)(http://www.uscg.mil/history/webcutters/Sassafras1943.asp)
Serves in Nigeria as NNS Obula A-504
USCGC Sedge (WLB-402) (http://www.uscg.mil/history/webcutters/Sedge1944.asp)
Serves in Nigeria as NNS Kyanwa A-501
USCGC Spar (WLB-403) (http://www.uscg.mil/history/webcutters/Spar1944.asp)
Scuttled off North Carolina as fish habitat reef 10 June 2004
USCGC Sundew (WLB-404)(http://www.uscg.mil/history/webcutters/Sundew1944.asp)
Privately owned by Jeff Foster of Foster Trucking in Superior, Wisconsin (04/2010)
USCGC Sweetbrier (WLB-405) (http://www.uscg.mil/history/webcutters/Sweetbrier1944.pdf)
Serves in Ghana as GNS Bonsu (whale) P31
USCGC Acacia (WLB-406) (http://www.uscg.mil/history/webcutters/Acacia1944.pdf)
Privately owned and will be open for tours in Manistee, Michigan (04/2010)
USCGC Woodrush (WLB-407) (http://www.uscg.mil/history/webcutters/Woodrush1944.pdf)
Serves in Ghana as GNS An zone (shark) P30
The U.S. Coast Guard's Sea going Buoy Tenders.
Between 1942 and 1944, thirty-nine 180-foot buoy tenders were built for the U.S. Coast Guard. The preliminary design was initialized by the U.S. Lighthouse Service prior to its amalgamation into the Coast Guard in 1939. The final design was intended to replace all large or Class-A lighthouse tenders. For the first time search and rescue features were added to a ship designed primarily for tending buoys and servicing lighthouses. Following the merger it was decided that ice breaking capability and armament should be added to the design of the ship. Most were equipped with one 3 inch-50 caliber gun in the gun tub behind the stack (as shown below right on the CGC PLANETREE)
and two or four 20 mm machine guns and depth charges.
All 39 of the 180's were named after bushes/shrubs.
Click onto their names below for information on the ship.
All 39 buoy tenders served the U.S. Coast Guard very well
In "1957" the Spar conducted hydro graphic:operations through the "Northwest Passage" in company with CGCs Storis and Bramble. This historic mission marked the first time any vessel had circumnavigated the North American continent. For this significant accomplishment President Dwight D. Eisenhower sent his personal congratulations.In "1966"
the Spar was assigned the mission of performing an undersea oceanographic charting expedition in the northern Atlantic. During this trip the cutter visited Newfoundland, Iceland, Norway, Denmark, Germany and Northern Ireland logging over 17,000 miles.
The cutter's home port changed again in April 1967 to Boston where it and CGC Cactus traded captains and crew. In March 1973 the Spar was stationed at South Portland ME. Since its arrival here the Spar's primary duties have been the maintenance of approximately 200 aids to navigation off the coasts of Maine and New Hampshire, logistical support of lighthouses, search and rescue, and enforcement of laws and treaties.
Click below for 18 Pages of
original Spar wlb 403 "1966"
Cruise, PDF format
Click onto Military.com, to gain access.
List of United States Coast Guard ratings, Click onto image below
to read and see more information
United States Coast Guard
ratings are general occupations that consist of specific skills and abilities. Each rating has its own specialty badge, which is typically worn on the left sleeve of their service dress uniform by all enlisted personnel in that particular field. On Operational Dress Uniforms, they wear generic rate designators that exclude the rating symbol. Commissioned Officers do not have ratings.
The Coast Guard we once knew