U.S. Coast Guard Cutter Spar
WLB - 403 out of Bristol RI.
Some Stories, 53 years later
Posted on 5 / 14 / 11
I just received an email from one of the 5 crew
members that was on board the Spar's journey in 1966. One of the storms were
around the end of September which also lasted over a week, Dave Milanak sent
this in to me last night and I believe he had some detailed recollections
come back to him or he wouldn't have sent this in to me: "quote" As I am now in
my 60's Sept. 30th, 1966 to Oct. 6th. 1966 has been the longest and most
frightening week of my life that I can remember. Dave Milanak "Unquote". These swells I believe are approx. 70 to 90 feet and they were being
logged in on the bridge - in fact were 70 to 90 foot and we also had them coming
from both port and starboard sides. The ocean was just peaks very high peaks I guess that's why there called mountainous seas. I can still see it like Dave Milanak
can a very vivid memory indeed. One had to be there to know what we all went
through & I can say we shouldn't be here now but the Spar made it and the
officers on the bridge. Who knew that we were headed for a second one not to
far from the future, two weeks long.
Dave Milanak /
Posted on 11 / 13 / 2011
Hey Tom -
Just looked at
your changes to page 3. Wow, I love the new pics Jim sent and the
information. Tom you did a great job of laying it all out! I'd never seen
most of those pictures. I thought that was Alan Peterson's 305 scrambler but
I remember when Gary saw something he liked he had to have one too. I remember riding on the back with Peterson and going to Newport. Anyway,
great job Tom. RICH
Hey Rich... Thank you. When Jim called I
sometimes think I would be at a loss for words. It was the complete
opposite. My wife had to go out and when she returned it was 3 1/2 hours
that just zipped on by. Nuts... Jim says he has more to send, he just has
to find it. I'm not blowing my own horn here Rich, but before I ever had a
PC, my son in-law set up a real old lap top, with a zip drive 100 MB. just
to put my camera pics onto to save. On that laptop was a program called
Photo Impression, by H.P. Well I worked with that for 3 years and could do
just about anything to pictures. That knowledge now pays off, Jim's picture
were scanned, 4 on a page in low resolution, color was off, and some other
items. So I was able to do all the work it took to make them presentable for
the site, even make the pictures the same size. Before you found my site, a lot
of the pics were all uneven, which eventually are pretty much done. And I
still would like you to point out any suggestions or errors you may find.
Thanks, Glad you like it Rich.
Shipmate Tom EN3.
Posted on 11 / 9 / 2011 Jim Malone.
didn't think l had spelled the girls name right when l sent the last email.
She was from Norway, but l met her in a bar in Copenhagen, Denmark. That bar
was in the Nyhaven district on the waterfront in Copenhagen and l remember the
OOD telling us before we left the ship, not to go there. So, what did we do?
Everyone went there. lt was FUN. l do remember the Toborg and Carlsberg beer
was very strong; l could only handle about six before l felt like worming
around on the floor.
l am going to look for more pics and l believe l
have some embroidered patches from the different countries we visited. Iceland,
Norway etc. lm going to find someone with a scanner and try to get the pics
sent when l get them all together. l did ask them at the library if l could
send or receive pictures and they said no. As for the 2 pics you sent me, the
first one of 'Chooch"& me is fine the way you have worded it. The goofy
looking one of me you might say: " l always look this way after a four hour
watch on the bridge."l hope you stay the course of not drinking. Gina
(my wife) had a bout with alcohol for many years. She finally went to AA and
kicked it about three years before she died of cancer. Those 3 years were a
blessing for both of us as she was a different person. We probably grew
together more in those last 3 years than the previous 27. We sure can waste a
lot of our lives if we don't have a direction, or a plan, or a guiding force.
Take good care, my friend. Your old/shipmate/friend,Jim Malone.
will have to give me your phone# and if l get stuck on
emailing the pics you
might be able to help me.
Posted 11 / 8 / 2011 Chuck Goodspeed
to wish you all a happy Veterans day,Veteran is a title I wear with honor.
will be thinking of all of you at the ceremony the 11th hour the 11th day the
11th month. Thank you all for your service and Semper Par
Charles H Goodspeed
BM3 Former Active Duty
USCGC Acacia WLB 406 1967-1971
Posted on 11 / 8 / 2011 by Jim Malone.
l did find
some pics including the one with you, me and the blond girl l had my arm around.
She was from Norway and l believe her name was Lila. The hard part will be
getting the images to you, these public pc's dont have the capability and l dont
want to send the pics in the mail. l found a picture of Richard in the engine
room of the Spar, another crew member and a b/w picture of the Spar in rough
seas that was part of a Christmas card Rich sent to me when l was at a lifeboat
station in Kenosha, Wisconson. l believe you may have that picture of Rich and
the one of the Spar. l will try to find others and think of a way to get the
images to you. Got any suggestions? Semper Paratus! Jim.
(l wonder what
Gnarls is up to?)
Posted on 11 / 7 / 2011 by Jim Malone
l will have to scrounge around, but l may have a
few pictures. l do remember a picture of you and l and a blonde girl l had
latched on to at a Nyhaven bar in Copenhagen. You know, one of those pictures
a person takes of you with a Polariod camera and then tries to sell them to
you. Remember it? l will have to look hard and find what l can. l wil let you
Those flags l was waving around are call Semifor flags,
used for signalling other ships. As l recall, that was some sort of training
we went through with other Coast Guard ships. lf l remember right, that was DJ
Hart standing in back of me when l was doing the signalling. He had never been
to signalman school, but lucky me, l had. l dont remember when you got
transferred. l had to laugh the other day, l thought of a time when you and l
were talking about a seaman on the ship named Swanick. ( l hope l spelled his
name right) And in our infinite wisdom, we had decided he looked kind of
gnarly (you know, his face and hands) so we nick-named him "Gnarls". l know
its not right, but l laugh every time l think about it. lm laughing right now,
sorry Gnarls. Later, Jim.
lts such a small world. l met my wife Gina at a
party Carl Provost and his wife Kathy invited me to on a New Years Eve. l
believe Mark Chadwick and his girlfriend Sheila came along also, and the rest
is history. Wow, l had completely forgotten about Carl. l think it would have
been quite a distraction having lady crew members, although all the male
members on the crew probably would have taken better care of themselves (like
showers, shaving and brushing their teeth etc.) l hate to sound so old school,
but l dont think it would be good. l was at a lifeboat station before l
"mutualed" with a guy on the Spar. l think they renamed the lifeboat station
"search and rescue units" about the time l was leaving. l will see about the
pictures when l get home. Jim.
Posted on 11 / 31 / 2011 Rich Notestine to Jim Malone.
Hey man, its good to hear from you! l do
sort of remember that old saying "impress me" but that is not me any more.
l know what you mean about computers, l did use them at work, but they were
only related to the operation of machines that processed mail. The internet is
a completely different animal. l own a computer that is so old that they
probably would use it for a door stop in the Smithsonian. lt was also a pre
internet computer. Back when you could only get on bullenten boards, and l
didnt even do that. l use public pc's and have an email address through a
friend who has an up-to-date pc. l really did not get interested in the
history of the ship until l got a call from D.J. Hart who was a QM3 on the
bridge with me. Do you remember him? We talked for at least a couple of hours
about the ship and all the things that went on. lt was good. He still lives
in Rhode Island and is doing well.(retired) l told him about the web site, but
l think DJ doesnt mess with the computer a whole lot. l have emailed him and
do not get any response. l do have his phone # and call him from time to time.
DJ was looking for me and Richard Notestine. l gave him and old phone # and
an address that l had from Eudora, Kansas. l got Rich's email address off you
web site. Thanks, good job! l married a girl from E. Providence, R l
in 1969 and we had two children. l lost Gina (my wife) to breast cancer in
1999. l have four grandchildren and a very busy life. l would imagine the
Coast Guard has changed a bunch. l do have very fond memories of all the time
l spent there. From boot camp to discharge in 1968. l wasn't very mature when
l first went into the service, it did help me alot, l believe. How has life
been for you since you left the service? Hope you are well mentally,
physically and spiritually. Take good care, Jim Malone.
Posted 9 / 2 / 2011
Crew member No. 5 found his place on the Spar wlb-403's 1966 trip. He is
Jim Malone His favorite saying back then was Impress Me.Tom Guess
what - Jim Malone found me. Here's what he sent. Well Richard l
finally found out how to get a hold of you. This is Jim Malone. It's been a
long time, my friend. So much has happened since l last saw you or spoke to
you. l have thought about you and your family often, and as far as l can
remember your last location was Eudora, Ks. l called the phone numbers l found
in a letter you had sent to me some time ago to no avail. How in the heck are
you, anyway? l got a phone call a couple of months ago and you will
never guess who it was. DJ Hart from Rhode island. Wow, what a surprise. We
must have talked for over two hours going up and down memory lane asking
questions and laughing about old times in the Coast Guard. He asked about you
and l told him about your last location that l knew of in Kansas. It sure was
good to hear from him. He called me back a short while later and said he ran
into the same dead end that l did in Eudora. (man, l hope l'm spelling that
right) Anyway, l just got a little curious this week and started looking up
stuff on the Internet about the Spar. Low and behold, l found all kinds of
info, including pictures of the 1966 trip up north on the Spar. l found another
web sight today, and got your email address off of it. l was glad to find
it. l am not hooked up on the Internet, so l have to use a public PC or
a friends. Right now l'm in the library. l still live in the KC area, more
specifically Lee's Summit. l have lived there since 1992. l'm retired now and
burn a lot of my time giving care for my mom, kids and grand kids. l guess you
can get my email address from this email. l will have to sign off for now.
Hope to hear from you soon. God bless. Your friend, Jim
Posted on 8 / 14 / 2011
Hi Rich, My
PC was down for a day, adjustments were made for me, just what I really don't
How are you ? I was and still am watching a movie made in Iceland. I
had such a rushed memory hit me since the trip. When we were in either
Reykjavik or Keflavick Iceland ,when we walked down the streets, not one person
would look at us directly eye to eye. Not eye to eye, I thought WTF, I would walk in front
of them and ask a question, no response what so ever. The second thing is I
remember when we were there ,there weren't any ugly girls walking around, no
even heavy set women. I approached one man and asked him what do you do with all
the ugly girls put them in the basements? All we see are beautiful girls, but
they wouldn't talk with us, looked right through us like we were translucent.
When we were leaving I found out that it wasn't because we were Americans ,it
was are uniforms, do you remember the Icelandic people didn't like the US
Tom.Yeh - We were told not to go into town because
it was a waste of time. The Navy base there had about all you could ask for
except girls. Remember the club (bar) that we went to on the base? The reason
for no ugly girls was because the vikings settled Iceland and when they
plundered other Scandinavian countries they only kidnapped the best looking
blond girls they came across.
Posted on 7 / 31 / 2011
I can think
of many things, only thing is can`t remember if they were when I was on the
Spar, Hamilton, or light ship. I do remember all the fog we had on the trip. I
don`t know who it was, but he went and stood on the bow and blew through a sewer
side nozzle like a trumpet when our fog horn died. There was so much fog that if
you stood aft you couldn't see the bow. And having the mid watch during the
storm with the waves going over the top of the ship. All Mr. Devens kept telling
me was to keep the bow pointing into the waves. The Spar would go under the wave
and shudder as she came out of it. Having mid watch in the bitter cold with the
fur around the hood of my jacket freeze up. Rich might remember this because he
was a good monkey fist thrower. When we pulled into Belfast the dock workers
were talking to us and we couldnt understand a word they were saying. He and I
were saying to each other what the f did they say and we would laugh. I bought
an Irish lace table cloth in Belfast which I still have.
Posted 7 / 30 / 2011
I can only think of one thing right now. I had the
watch 4-8 PM, the guys were playing volley ball on the buoy deck they were using
the boom as a net. They had a string taped to the ball so it wouldn`t go over
the side. It lasted only about 10 min. because the tape came off when the ball
was hit and it went over the side. Another thing, Rich would remember this. In
the storm the paint got loose and re- painted the paint locker. Brennan and I
spent the night in Sweden. We were told not to go to Sweden because we didn`t
have clearance but we did anyway. The rest of that is personnel. Ha HA. By the
way happy belated birthday Tom. Kyle Chapman.
Posted on 7 / 25 / 2011
sure thought you had that story, anyway it's fairly short. Here it is:
and I decided to go topside for a smoke in the middle of the night like we did
Tom when it was really dark. The sea was real calm, just some nice ground
swells.We went out the starboard side main deck hatch and you couldn't see your
hand in front of your face. No sound except the ship cutting through the
water. Kind of spooky. Evidently someone had opened the stack space and forgot
to dog down the hatch and it must have been hanging open. We didn't even get a
light up. The ship went over a big ground swell and that hatch
slammed shut. You can imagine how much noise it made.We both did the panic
thing and I was going through the hatch and Chad grabbed me to throw me out of
the way so he could get in and I did the same thing to him and we did this like
four times before we made it inside. When we finally got inside we realized
how stupid we must have looked pulling each other out of the way. The 2 stooges.
We cracked up and
when we stopped laughing we finally got the guts to go out
and dog down the hatch. Rich Notestine.
It's been a
long time, but it seems like yesterday. I've been off the net for awhile. Just
got hooked back up recently. Ran across your Spar website today by a fluke.
Man, you have put a Lot of work and information into that site. You have pretty
much saved all of that information from just disappearing into the past. Nice
work!! Also saw you in a couple of other places but this seemed to be the
easiest way to contact you. Needless to say a lot of water has passed under
the bridge but I could never forget my Coast Guard days. I've exchanged emails
with Sam Smith (Smitty) awhile back and also Dave Milinak. I'll have more time
to exchange info with you later but you can email me any time at
firstname.lastname@example.org or email@example.com
Do you still pinstripe? I remember
you pin-striping one of the guys black Ford Falcon on the dock. Always amazed
me.Well I've got to run. Talk to you later. Rich Notestine
Notestine now makes (4) shipmates to meet with the help of this web site &
We made the trip together on the Spar-403 in 1966.
Posted on 7 / 25 / 2011
Boot camp and the cigarette. A Boot Camp Story I
was in Oscar company summer of 1965. Our CC was a first class petty
officer Gaus Bm1. I remember this guy in our company asking for a
smoke break while doing maneuvers in the obstacle course. I thought this guy
was in trouble & I was right. Guas was a real nasty guy. We all stood
at attention as he instructed our shipmate to go get his cigarettes from the
barracks. Now he also told him to go into his office to get his scotch tape
dispenser. This kid was fast he was back in a heartbeat. Guas took out all his
cigarettes, made a roll out of them and taped the cigarettes all together.
Then he told this guy to stick them in his mouth and light up. Damn if he didn't
do it, Guas kept saying take a drag bigger bigger we were sick just watching
him needless to say he never asked for another smoke break again. Guas was
hard to beat but I have to admit I did beat him and it wasn't really hard to
figure out but I did it without getting caught. The one thing in boot camp
could not deprive you of was religion. I went to a Methodist meeting on a Tuesday night it was an hour Long. You could smoke as much as you wanted to then I thought I'll go to the catholic mast on Wednesday night same deal with the smoking. I went to the Jewish meetings also.
I went to them all and
never got caught.
At Sea In 1966
This just came to me while building this
site. I Remember when at sea I went up to the bridge every chance I could get.
What just came to mind was coffee mugs Yeah....... No matter when I went
there day or night I noticed one thing. Its been so long I really cant remember
any Names but I'm speaking about Officers. I never seen a coffee mug make it
back down to the galley to be washed. Now these are just the ones that I have
seen. What about the ones I didn't see ? I asked the cook one time just how
many mugs are on this ship? He replied something like a lot of cases of them
in storage. One night when I was relieved of duty I visited my friend, Leonard Johnson on the
electronics working with the survey team, I mentioned to him What would a mountain
made of coffee mugs look like on his chart, he didn't know what I was talking
about until I told him, It was just a joke. I told him of all the mugs that I've
seen go flying off the bridge when these officers were finished with their
coffee they never made it back down to the galley.
Just Another Memory From
51 Years Ago.
Posted on - 8 / 17 / 2010
Hey Tom - what's going on?
remembered something that happened back on the Spar in Bristol,a real close call
where I almost had my head removed literally. I don't know if you were on board
at that time. I was hanging around on the buoy deck with a couple of other guys
and chief Downs was there also. We heard a loud metallic crack and someone
yelled my name and I turned around and something breezed by my head leaving some
black grease on my hair.When someone secured the boom with the hook in a pad eye
on deck,they had it pulled way too tight. Up where the block and Tackle was
secured to the bridge (see the pink oval in the photo) the steel link holding it
up there snapped and the block and tackle came swinging down on the cable.You
remember how big those were and solid steel. 3 or 4 hundred pounds.
turned it just grazed my hair leaving grease in it and the chief jumped out of
the way just in the nick of time and it hit the inside of the hull about where
the sinker chocks are and put a large dent in it. We looked at each other like
how did we get so dang lucky. Had to have been God looking out after us. Buoy
tenders were freakin' dangerous!One other time I almost got my legs crushed or
worse but that's another story and it's getting late.
Talk to you later.
Rich Notestine SPAR WLB-403
How many crew members on
the Spar ?
When we were on the Spar -403 there was a 102
crew members, and 12 Officers, plus the 10 Oceanographers on board. In the
crews quarters we were stacked 3 high I was In the middle, when I wanted to
turn over on my back I had to get out and climb back in again that's tight
as I'm typing this I'm thinking of when John Hagerty ( Spar Museum ) was on the Spar some ten
years later I heard the crew count was 45. It sounds like they had a lot more
room then we did. Now picture living like this in a closed up sometimes in an
x-ray condition, out at Sea in swells that made you feel like you were made of lead and then sometimes pitching down, light as a feather. That was from what is called "pitching"
Would I Do It
Again ? Yeah !!
Posted on 4 / 19 / 2010
Hagerty and the lobster pots.
I never touched any lobster pots. Didn’t have
to, if you go diving at night with a flashlight the bottom was covered with
them. You go diving during daylight you only see a couple. All you do is shine
the light on them with one hand and grab them from behind with the other, then
shove them into the bag tied around the waist. Probably still
would have been
shot if caught though.
A Night In
Dinner in Belfast when we were in Belfast Ireland Rich Notestine & myself had liberty this one night before work hours were over. I asked him what
he thought about going out tonight and treat ourselves to a good steak
dinner? It sounded good to him as well with our dress blues on & shoes
shined we were off. It took a little while to pick a spot out but we finally
found what we thought was a good spot good God / Were We wrong. We seated
ourselves at a table we wanted that's because we were the only ones in there.
It Didn't take us long to know what to order we both wanted the same thing a
steak baked potato and a salad with a lot of cold beer to wash it down if
they had It. The waiter came over and took our order as he placed a plate full
of bread and butter before us It looked good then our beers came out and I
said wait and just chugged that one down as did Rich we asked the waiter for
another round. I reached for a piece of bread and went to butter it and I
noticed a bite had been taken out of it so I said to Rich if you don't want
the bread please don't put it back on the plate. He said he wasn't anywhere
near the bread I just put the Bread back and our steaks came out and soon after. I noticed the waiter looking at the bread that we didn't want. As we were trying
to eat our steaks I asked Rich how his steak was he said a little tough & I
said so was mine. It had a lot of gristle to cut off & a lot of fat and
other unknown crap. We both looked at each other and said there really Isn't
anything to eat. It was Mess on a plate. Well it soon became obvious that the
waiter was also the proprietor. He asked what the hell was wrong with his food? I said we didn't complain about anything so why are you upset,? He started
to yell at us and said you Americans have everything so easy and nothing that
he had was not good enough for us. I think that was are cue to get the hell out
of there, and do some serious drinking somewhere else.
Actually we thought it
was rather funny.
An unscheduled stop - for provisions.
51 years ago, is a long time, I can remember a lot
about our trip on the
SPAR Wlb / 403 In 1966. For instance there was
one port of call that we hit for one night only, I Cant seem to remember the
name, it wasn't on the stop over list when the trip was planned back in port. Stopping at Jan Mayen Island wasn't planned either. That was a thought that came
from out at sea. Anyway as fortunate as I could get I didn't pull duty this
night. I have asked Kyle & Dave If they recall the this port we stayed at
for one night, they didn't know. A freighter was tied up to another one so we
had to cross our gang plank onto one ship and walk our way through two
freighters. There was a problem though, there were no lights on these two
ships, so they rigged a small light bulb at each entry and exit, meaning we had
to feel our way around the freighter without any sense of direction, so the
little light bulbs were our guide on & off the ships. Now before we were
granted liberty we were told there was some rough bars in this area so be
careful and we also had
Cinderella Liberty / 24 hundred hours, better be
aboard the ship.
There were 3 of us together, myself, Notestine, and the
third eludes me. I Remember I had to go back to the ship for my money that I had forgotten and started to make the trek across these dark cargo ships with
no one aboard. As I was walking onto the 2nd ship I saw something in the water.
I stopped and just stared at it for a moment or two, remember there were only
the 2 small light bulbs at the crossings on and off. I just stood there looking down at the water, it was moving just enough to move things
around a bit and then I could make it out. Okay it was a hand. Did my heart rate go
up ? You Bet Cha... I felt as though now, I was being watched by the person
or persons that did this. Yeahhhhh, I was scared. I got back to the Spar in a
heartbeat. The Co that night was great guy,Mr Rapp, Chief Warrant officer. I explained to
him what I had found and seen, I wasn't sure if he believed me or not. I talked him
into both of us to get two lanterns, and go see for himself. We did and when we
got back there it was a hand, I could see Mr. Rapp now very concerned, we tried to find something to reach down and move It. I went back to the Spar I
cant remember what I got but Mr. Rapp started to move it
around and he finally got It. It turned out to
be the arm of a mannequin or of a dummy (me). That was It. I didn't get
to drink to much, no time left, almost 24 hundred hours Cinderella liberty. We talked about that for quite
sometime, because he also thought it was real.
51 years now. Tom H. EN3
Then and now
in the Coast Guard.
All of this Information
that I have collected for the SPAR wlb 403 & searching the archives for
all this information a lot of memories are returning to me. I remember the 10
civilians working under the navy's department bringing all their gear and
electronics on board. Getting ready for the survey. I don't believe back then
that the crew really knew what was going on. I have more interest in it now
then back in 1966. Anyway their equipment wasn't just placed anywhere it had
to be secured in a very special way and that was to weld all the equipment to
the deck. Where ever they choose to put It at the time I wondered why are they
welding all this stuff down. It felt like it was going to be permanent for some
reason but I soon learned when out at sea. If they hadn't have welded it
it would have been everywhere and severely damaged also someone could have been
hurt. The two storms we encountered while at sea would have been the proof of
such a mishap. Its kind of interesting to me now. I wish I could go back as I
think a lot of us do. The way the Coast Guard is today its a different ball game.
I am proud to have served in the Coast Guard as many others are.
Once A Coastie Always A
Tom Hough, EN3
Two ships in the
I had the
12:00 To 6:00 watch in the engine room along with Chief Shope, Great person.
I would guess it was about 2 hours into my watch. I taking readings every hour
all throughout the ship. When you are in the engine room your ears get
accustomed to every little sound. With the main engines running & the port
or starboard generator that powers the ships Electrical system.When this
happened I was right near Chief Shope where he sat smoking his pipe at the
desk we had. All of a sudden,Baaammmm!!! The ships engines stopped dead completely, I could here the exciter board changing polarity in its direction
throwing the main engines & generator that operated the motor for power
to the aft steering room going into reverse but then the main engines revved
so high I thought the engines were going to blow. Chief Shope just gave me a
sign pointing up you couldn't talk in the engine room and I knew what he
meant so I ran up to the bridge to see what was going on. When I looked out I
couldn't see anything it was pitch black the darkest night I had ever seen on
the trip. I went out onto the port fly bridge and it still black. I heard one
of the bridge crew members yell he cant see anything to who ever was in
command at the time. He was right while I was standing there I Just started
to look up and up, until I started to see what looked like a string of light
bulbs very high up. It was hard at first to grasp what I saw but I realized it
was ne of the biggest freighters that I had ever seen out at sea or should I
say closerst to. The hull was black & again very huge. Our ship has
shuttered since I was in the engine room. And it is still shuttering. The
whole time the ship was in reverse it felt like she was going to come apart. How close was that ship ? You could have spit on it. When it finally passed
us, which was quite some time, I went back to let Chief Shope know what had
happened a really,close call, to close for me. It was never brought up how
the bridge could have missed this thing on its scope. We were told later that
we were in a shipping lane because we were to arrive at our
next destination within 6 Hours. Other then myself & the crew members on
the bridge that night, could never say how it looked, you had to see this for Yourself.
Chief Shope almost fell off
the stool when the engines went into full reverse.
Posted on 6 / 17 / 2
Dave & Kyle cant remember . While being abroad in foreign
ports we naturally had to take on provisions from different countries, several
of them had the same thing, their milk and juice came in a triangular shaped
cardboard cartons , and they just sat on one side ,when it was on the table. Can
you remember the cartons is what I want to know. gotta remember out of over a
100 guys, its just the four of us Dave is emailing me right now while i'm
typing. Can you believe only four of us, you spelled the name right Mac kelvey
first class ,he went out drinking with chambers ,tall skinny guy that liked his
woman very heavy, go figure, chambers could be a bitch at times. you asked if I
remembered Richard Funk , absolutely he trained me on the small boats, when
changing crew members and provisions for the light ship, I think those guys
worked two weeks on and two weeks off. I couldn't live like that. I know it had
to get rough at times out there just sitting in the water, not being able to
head the bow into on coming waves. Richard Funk played the guitar with Pete,
that also was on the Spar. I could go on and on it makes me wonder. how come
Dave and kyle cant remember anything. I don't get it,but Rich & Pete played
Another Short Story Between Rich And
Yes - I remember the triangular cartons.
One time Chambers
really ticked me off, can't remember why, but I was on the water on one of the
small boats & he was on the buoy deck. He yelled something at me and I told
him to get bent. He said he was going to have me up before the Captain if I said
it again so I said it again like a dummy. I ended up with some kind of 2 week
restriction or something.
Posted on 7 / 23 / 2011
Memories are coming back.
quite remember if you were with us this particular night in Denmark when we
were hitting all the bars. It seems like it was
Malone and Chadwick. Along
this street for blocks, all the bars were either below street level or above.
Seemed odd. Anyway we were drinking in this one place with super loud music
where you can't hear each other and this big Big guy wanted to know if we
were from the US. He acted like it was the greatest thing in the world to
meet Coasties from the states. He was with his wife and invited us to another
bar so we went with him & his wife. Turns out he was a pro prize fighter
in Denmark and had fought guys
in the states like Sonny Liston. Anyway, I
bet he took us to 10 bars and paid for all we could drink. Man, he got us
wasted.We were in one bar above street level and none of us could see
straight and all of a sudden his wife grabbed all three of us and rushed us
out the door and down the stairs. When we got to the bottom all of a sudden
this guy comes flying thru the door at the top. Evidently he had made some
comment to our friends wife and she got us out before the fight started. He
thought it was great fun. I think we went to one more place and he brought us
back close to the ship. I was so
hammered it's a wonder I can remember any of it. I guess we never talked
about this unless you just forgot. I'm sure I would have told you the next
One of two storms
at sea , IN 1966.
We weren't out to long after we left Jan Mayen island next day maybe its been 47 years we were informed that we may be headed for a storm. That
was it okay the following morning when I was going on watch 6 on 6 off no time for yourself. It was a little rough out there, well I thought to soon because in an hour or so it was murder I was only two hours into my watch
when it became difficult to walk up the ladder to take my readings I went
topside I took a peak out of the mess hall porthole all I saw was water I
waited and still just water I saw no sky at all. I could feel the ship
changing course just to keep her bow dead on into the next swell. I have to go
to the bridge and take a look well the swells were being logged in at 30 to 35
feet. this is nuts no one could walk in the ship just kept banging into the
bulkheads back and forth cant wait till this storm has passed us by remember
now this is around our forth day into this storm not only were the swells
getting bigger they started to come from all around us towards the bow port
side from the stern you could feel the ship gaining speed from the stern
swells, now from the starboard side before anyone knew it we were in
mountainous seas. You could not see the sky out of any porthole the swells were
now being logged in at 70 to 90 feet at this point every moving thing that could move- did. I had to tie myself into my bunk or I would fall out of it you'll have
to read between the lines here okay the storm is now well over a week long the crew I would say was getting irritable at this point, the cook went to his
rack and that's the last time we saw him if you were hungry you made it
yourself. Peanut butter and jelly is cool with me always had saltine
crackers each passing day I knew the whole crew felt like I did when is this
going to end as it turns out the average swell was 65 feet and higher all
along I never felt fear hey I'M in the service what can happen ? Day 10 we
had no idea we still had 4 more days to go and worse at that no one talked
to each other I heard one crew member say it the best. I cant think of his
name he said it was like a ship loaded with woman who was on the rag, all at
the same time, when
I tied myself in my bunk I could see all the diddly bags on the bulkhead they looked like they were off the wall by 90 degrees it was
like magic they would just come off the bulkhead and stand straight out as far
as they could. I know that the 80 feet mast was hammered from rolling from
port to starboard bashing into the on coming swells they weren't swells they
were mountains. anyone now aboard ship that felt no fear then they were
nuts. I know of a couple of guys that prayed to get through this thing. All
throughout the ship if anyone can remember there was these little dials that
would show the amount of degrees we would roll on well they were pinned to
the stops and the ship still went farther. I went up the the bridge and the
captain happened to be on watch I requested permission to go out to take a
picture he was reluctant at first but then he said just one and get right
back in here I went out the port side holding on and ready to take a snap
shot when all of a sudden the bow went under the sea spray hit me in the
face,which were clocked in at 90 miles an hour so, they claimed on the
bridge its speed. ( I didn't get the shot). I almost lost the camera Kodak
wind-up no digital s back then. One last thing 47 years have passed that's a
long time and through the use of computers it starting to seem like its so
easy to get in touch anyone let alone your old shipmates but I found two
from that trip back in 1966. Dave and Kyle this is something that we found
out after e-mailing each other for several months now Now Rich Notestine is in touch with the three of us 5-10-2010. When the movie came out The Perfect
Storm I mentioned to my family that that was nothing compared to what we went
through Yeah Right... well Dave said the same thing and Kyle also said the
same to his family. This is what I meant when I said that "John Hagerty's" that
he had missed one hell of ride back in "1966". When two weeks ended with the
storm we found out we had only traveled a few miles towards our course. Now this is the end we hit another two week storm on that trip. I couldn't tell
you which one was worse ? I think they were equal. Smooth
Posted on 6 / 23 / 2010
crew members on the Spar.
I don't think Chad was ever on Fred's Place. I did
see Richard Funk on there. Do you remember him? I don't know if he made the trip
with us. How about Alan (Pete) Peterson. He played a Martin guitar a lot. Also
McKelvey, Jack Harris, Chooch & Bob Chambers. Some names are comeing back to me.
I'll have a coupla pics for you pretty soon - Rich
Saw Swanick in your pics.
Boy's bike and the bar.Hey Rich do
you remember me coming back from the same bar one night we always went to I cant think of the name its the only bar we went to. I walked by this bicycle that
was leaning against the wall say a foot or two from me I got sat on it &
road it back to the ship and right off the end of the dock into the water. then I find out
the bike belonged to a special child talk about feeling bad I couldn't wait
till the work day ended and then I got out the grappling hooks and spent a
couple of hours until I finally got it. I cleaned it all up oiled everything and
that night put the bike right back to where I found. I believe he was a crippled child I never forgot that.
that kid has been
with me for 53 years now. Tom.
Stories from 53 years ago.
Its hard for me to
believe that out of a 100 crew members & 12 officers the only Coasties
From The Spar trip is Dave Milanak Kyle Chapman & now Richard Notestine
& myself Tom Hough. My first encounter with anything pertaining to my
history with the Coast Guard was with John Hagerty. His web site ( The Spar
Museum ). I didn't even have a computer. Didn't know how to use one. What I did
have was an LG-PU,920 Phone. That at the time was my computer, I Had an email
address and mass storage. I had many files, and well over 4,000 Pictures. One
morning I had to take my wife's niece to the hospital for tests. I knew in
advance it was going to take a while 4 1/2 hours it turned out to be. So I went
on the web with my phone. I thought,let me try something I'll type in the
"SPAR Wlb-403" and to my surprise I came up with the Spar Museum. I was
pleased I looked at some of John's picture and eventually I was at the bottom I saw very small because of it being a phone anyone having pictures of the
Spar, any year please contact me.Well I thought lets give this a shot. I
emailed John and said I have over 80 pictures from the "SPAR" Back In "1966" on
her cruise. I didn't realize at the time he hadn't had any pictures from that
year at all 1966. Especially on the trip we made with her. He said and
I quote "Blast them to me" I started sending them to John. I
never done this before. Well it turned out that a picture took about 10 seconds
each to send that's fast. So I blasted away. I got an email before I was
finished about half way saying slow down something to that effect. Before I
knew it he had every photo I had on the "SPAR". John emailed back to me he
never has been bombarded with so many pictures at one time. and not with a
phone. Then from that time on I found out about Fred's place. I was told that
he was sorry but his site didn't function with small devices such as a phone.
Well,he may not of known this but I was able to get in & sign up with no
problem. I got a password & I was in from that point I read a letter from
Kyle Chapman that he was on the trip In 1966. I contacted him & we sent
mail to each other. I hooked up with Dave Milanak, about a month later. Some
time went by, and I said to my son in-law I think I'll take you up on your
offer. It was time for a real computer. He set everything up for me. The rest is
history. I have only had this site now for about 4 months, before that I didn't
know how to turn one on. I am self taught a long with some help from Dave
& Kyle but mainly John Hagerty. I now realize how much of his time I chewed up from him. For that I am very
thankful. I Hope your reading this John. Well this whole story is about one
Out of a 100 or more crew members & 12 officers only 3 of us are
from the Spar's Trip.
I cant think of any other way to to contact any of the
Spar's Crew from the voyage in 1966.
Tom Hough EN3 U.S.C.G. Cutter Spar
A passing thought.
Can You Imagine This ? When Out At Sea In The Year "1966" We Had State Of The
art Equipment The 10 Civilian oceanographic survey workers on board all had top notch equipment to work with. But What if I turned to a shipmate and said 48 years from now I will E-mail you... whats an E-mail ? Its done on a computer, whats a computer? Or instead of waiting outside the radio room
to patch in a call to a land line ship to shore we just used our own cell phones ! or which way are we headed right now ? The ship went by the gyroscope reading true north lets just use our own hand held GPS systems to see where we are right now. That would have been hard to imagine back then,
My point? where will we be 48 years from now ?
When we were in: Belfast Ireland
Just before liberty yeah I
lucked out again, I didn't pull duty. We were indoctrinated by some big wig
from their town we were told not to have any conversation pertaining to
religion or politics with anyone. I don't believe that was on anyone's mind at
the time other then finding a pub and putting a few ice cold ones down yeah they had cold beer here everywhere else was room temp. about 3 or 4 hours into
our liberty we met some true irish girls in a pub, red heads to boot. I cant
remember who I was with but I do remember we decided to go to a movie and then
go out after that. the girl I was with was whispering to me ,in the movie about
what had happened to her grandfather just two weeks before. She said he was
machine gunned down right in front of his home. Well I thought She was with a
nut case and some how I wanted to get rid of her but she was staying with her
girl friends no matter what. We finished watching the movie & I do remember
it being an english movie not to many american movies played there as she
explained. To make a long story short we went out drinking and I listened to
all of this girls stories man a lot of them. I started to believe her that
was in 1966. I cant imagine what its like today. I saw her the following day
for a couple of hours & we were off once again, never to see her again. The
more I write the more I start to remember.
I wish I could have access to the
ships logs back in 1966.
Simply for the crew members names.
A story at
seaBetween Rich Notestine & myself back in 1966.I'm just sitting
here and I'm thinking about the night we went topside to get a smoke, I told my
wife it was so pitch black out we couldn't see each other at all. I couldn't see
my own hand if I'm correct here Rich we kind of felt our way towards the stern
of the ship. It wasn't a rough sea calm in fact, just black. I said I even had a hold of your
jacket and I don't mean that in a way of affection it was just plain scary. Then
when I looked straight behind us where the horizon would be a thin whitish
line appeared and arched right over our heads all the way to the bow's horizon it was weird. When we were finished we then we went up to the bridge to use a pair of
binoculars to look at this thing, if you remember it was wild it was billions
of stars- it was the milky way we were in line with it. Now if you have
any recollections of this Rich fire away because I am putting this on my web
site. Rich's Reply On 6 / 17 / 2010Tom you pretty much nailed it.
I can't think of anything to add to your story. I also remember being able to
see a lot of shooting stars because it was so dark and I remember not being
able to see your hand in front of your face. (I like your shot of us in
the galaxy) and somehow, of all things, I remember you hanging on to my
jacket. Great times.
Added On 8 /
8 / 2010
Tom, this was written by a SR-71 blackbird pilot
the milky way. Does it sound familiar? One moonless night, while flying
a routine training mission over the Pacific, I wondered what the sky would look
like from 84,000 feet, if the cockpit lighting were dark. My desire to see the
sky, overruled my caution,I dimmed the lighting.To my amazement, I saw a bright
light outsidemy window. As my eyes adjusted to the view, I realized that the
brilliance was the broad expanse of the Milky Way now a gleaming stripe across
the sky. Where dark spaces in the sky, had usually existed there were now dense
clusters, of sparkling stars.Shooting Stars, flashed across the canvas every few
seconds.It was like a fireworks display with no sound.I knew I had to get my
eyes back on the instruments,and reluctantly, I brought my attention back
inside.To my surprise, with the cockpit lighting still off, I could see every
gauge, lit by starlight. In the plane's mirrors I could see the eerie shine of
my gold spacesuit, incandescently illuminated, in a celestial glow.
one last glance out the window.Despite our speed we seemed still before
the heavens humbled in the radiance of a much greater power.
Submitted on April 23, 2011 8:22 PM EST
Best compliment I ever received, & I
thank you for it.
videos are simply top notch...great music, wonderful information, and great
technical quality. frankly, they bring a tear to my eye as mom of an ATON unit
Coastie....if u do anything of the pacific northwest region /near Seattle,
would love to keep an eye out for it.
From a Proud Coastie Mom...
I Remember when I first
reported for duty on she Spar,
I met I guess you could say, my first friend
and that was "Richard Notestine " It wasn't long after that I realized he was
more or less the ships artist. He painted the logo on the front of the boom
shack. He did nice work. Then I mentioned to him and a couple of other guys
while drinking one night that I was a pinstriper and went to all the drag
strips back home. I said on my Next 48 hour liberty I would go home & get
my paint box. We weren't supposed to go over 50 mile radius but I did mine was
150 mile. I wound up striping this guys Volkswagen I cant remember his name At
All.I also painted a lot of things in the Spar's engine room, the Captain never
said anything against it on inspection.
Posted 8 / 17 / 2010
Hey Tom -
what's goin on?
I just remembered something that happened back on the Spar in
Bristol a real close call where I almost had my head removed literally. I don't
knowif you were on board at that time. I was hanging around on the buoy deck
with a couple of other guys and chief Downs was there also. We heard a loud
metallic crack andsomeone yelled my name and I turned around andsomething
breezed by my head leaving some black grease on my hair.When someone secured the
boom with the hook in a padeye on deck,they had it pulled way too tight. Up
where the block and Tackle was securedto the bridge (see the pink oval in the
photo) the steel link holding it upthere snapped and the block and tackle came
swinging down on the cable.You remember how big those were and solid steel. 3 or
4 hundred pounds.
When I turned it just grazed my hair leaving grease in it
and the chief jumpedout of the way just in the nick of time and it hit the
inside of the hull about where the sinker chocks are and put a large dent in it.
We looked at eachother like how did we get so dang lucky. Had to have been God
lookingout after us. Buoy tenders were freakin' dangerous! One other time I
almost got my legs crushed or worse but that's another story and it's getting
late. Talk to you later -
Rich Notestine-- SPAR WLB-403
Posted on 3 / 7 / 2013
Going back a few years like 25 I used to take my daughter down to
NJ diamond beach right where the cement ship was sunk during the war.
no sand on this beach it is comprised of stones small stones. This is why its
called Diamond beach. You find all theses beautiful stones sometimes crystal
clear ( Diamonds ) stones then we would take them home to my tumbler it took
four weeks to complete the stages, 4 different grits, walla, beautiful
gems. That's not why I am writing to you the butterfly story you sent to me
reminded me of this. One day at the same beach I called my daughter and showed
her how this monarch butterfly was flat on each wave that come rolling in. I put
my hand under it, & the wing span was an easy 3 1/2 inches long or larger. I
noticed that the feelers were moving around, so I knew he was still alive, I
lifted each wing blowing on them softly to dry them, my daughter asking will it
live, I hope so, Then I blew on the other wing, going back & forth then he
stated to flap his wings on his own, staying on my hand I put my finger out with
my left hand, he stepped up to it and just flapped for the longest time, seemed
long, I cant believe I pet his wings without him acting defensively, a few
moments I raised my hand up & down and he flew away only to come back around
my daughter & I, then he just took off going inland. I never told this story
to anyone, perhaps my daughter may have, I don't know.
Over a bug.... It made me feel good the rest of the day. Corny man.
Your Shipmate & friend, Tom
Posted on 2-21-2014
Hey Tom -
I think your new site is a big improvement over the old one with Verizon.
They didn't know it but they motivated you to
come up with a new site that really is outstanding.
Great work! - Rich
Thank you very much Rich,
Your shipmate & friend,Tom EN3
Click below for 18 Pages of
original Spar wlb 403 "1966"
Cruise, PDF format
Read these stories !!
Posted on 8_1_2015
This video was sent to me a few moments ago. I just sat back and watched it to the end. I wondered to myself if our two storms were equivalent to this one. I came up with ours were much more violent and lasted almost two weeks each. Working 6 hours on and 6 hours off the berthing area was constantly dark, we all used flashlights to wake crew members up for their watch. I don't know what your quarters were like but we had to tie ourselves in the rack. Our ditty bags which were on my left by my bunk, hung from pegs off of the bulkhead. When the ship would roll it looked like magic the ditty bags all at once came straight out as if they were hanging outwards. I heard a lot of crew members praying softly every time I hit the sack. It made me aware that I was not frightened from these two storms. I think I felt, what can happen to us, we are in the US Military, not on some friends boat. As I look back now, I believe that we should not be here that's how bad they were. We were a pin point in the heavy seas thousand of miles from land. If we had gone down I cant see how they would ever of found us. They couldn't Enough of that...
I would love to hear how you felt while we were out in those storms if you felt light taking some time, or would I be asking something that you already may have planned, and please believe me, this is not a hint. I can remember they logged them in as mountainous seas, so I was told by a crew member at the helm. We did our pitching and rolling, that's when we would pitch up our knees felt like they were about snap, and pitching down I flew up the ladder in the engine room as if I was weightless, light as a feather, but at the same time we were sliding down sideways from port to starboard. When ever I had a chance I looked out of one of the portholes in the mess deck and never saw the sky just water. I suppose that's when one of the first class petty officers said if someone had opened one of them it could have sunk the ship, that's how so much water it would let in, I still don't know about that one. I asked the 4 crew members this one and I got the same response from Kyle, Dave, Rich, and Jim Malone, the movie the Perfect Storm was nothing compared to what we went through, we all cant be wrong. My family though as they still do think that I am exaggerating a bit. The length of them is what really effected me, I just wanted to stand still for 5 seconds and not being batted against the bulkheads. The separation of the crew and officers are what I am thinking right now for the first time. There is so much I would like to know, but that's not possible. There are many questions I would like to ask you. But Ill only ask one for now.
Take care & God bless.
Tom Hough Spar/66
Posted on 1_21_2015
I am going through some things and cleaning up my area here. I wanted to tell you and I forgot. One of the crew members was given the Spar's ensign that was on the entire trip. It was being discarded and my buddy Rich Notestine grabbed it and saved it all these years. When he found the Spar's website he was able to get in touch with me. There is a story in the site Eating out in Belfast Ireland, or a night out, he is one of my best friends. Anyway he sent the flag (Ensign) to me to have and I am looking at it right now, and just closing my eyes and picturing what that flag went through 53 years ago in its 17,000 mile journey, and the two storms. That's it, a small fact but I love the flag, one of a kind. It was very nice of Rich to send it to me.
Another story while out at sea,
This was about one of our cooks.
All 1966 era songs I remember when out at sea all we could get on the radio in the mess deck was radio Luxembourg in Germany, and me like fool said man these records are better then ours in the USA. It was both British invasion and USA songs it was all we had I wanted to put a short story on my site its like it just happened Rich. I would walk around with my sticks and sometimes sing I walked into the mess & no one was there on the radio was a new song "Wild Thing by the Troggs, I screamed out Wild Thing I Think I Love You...and the cook dropped all his pans with food in the trays and ran out because he thought someone was hurt. He was really pissed at me throughout the whole trip.
Picture of Richard Funk, who showed me how to
run the lifeboats he was also a Snipe.
Click onto photo