Coast Guard Cutter Spar WLB - 403 out of Bristol RI.
into Tromso Norway
2- Some smaller ice
3- Sea gull looking for a
4- Tromso bay 5- These are the little guys we were just starting to see
got off watch 6 hours later to see the big icebergs. 6- I believe this guy
7- This is a Hugh Iceberg up past the Arctic Circlelook closely and you'll see all the seals sun bathing on it.
8-Spar leaving Tromso Norway with the with her colors waving on the port side aft.
9- Crew playing vollyball on the Spar's buoy deck. Picture from Dave Milanak.
10- Swedish Naval Schooner 22 men in
11- Again somewhere out in the North Atlantic ocean.
12- The famous
church in Tromso Norway.
13- A small ship going through the
Kiel Canal in Germany 1966.
14- Another view of Tromso Norway's habours in 1966. 15- Main square in Iceland.
16- This is the famous mermaid in Denmark Copenhagen in 1966. 17- The seas can be rough even on a nice day 18- Its me goofing off on duty of course. Two days to go to Copenhagen, with liberty.
19 - More seals on these massive icebergs.
20- Chadwick relieving me on watch in engine room at 04:00 hours Good times. Joseph Mark
21- Again me goofing off, I was really working on the port side generator that gave the ship our power.
This is our ship (our home away from home)
The Spar looking back at her from Jan Mayen Island which is a part of Norway,
there were17 - Norwegian Coast Guardsmen stationed on it who maintained a Loran station for the aid ATON / we took turns going back & forth in the Spar's life boat to the island for 1/2 Hour or so for a little R&R and some tasty cold beer of course.
It broke up the Monotony of the open sea for 3 months.
Out at sea somewhere in the North Atlantic ocean 1966 trip,
Notestine, yeoman Doyle Yates, Malone & Gary Norton, who played the guitar.
ships in the night
Well I do have another story to tell I have to tell this one or it would feel
unfinished to me. This was during our trip in 1966. 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. The Chief 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 side fly bridge
and it was still black as hell. I heard one of the bridge crew members yell he cant see
anything to C.O. on the bridge. He was right while I was
standing there I Just started to look upward and 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 one of the biggest freighters that I had ever
seen. 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 to us ? 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 ship 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 of his stool when the engines stopped then revved high RPM's for the aft steering motor to change the prop to go into into full reverse.
1- The bank was Fiskernes bank in Tromso Norway 23 Aug 1966.
2- A map of Belfast Ireland they held a dance for the crew Members of the Spar for those who had liberty I was one of the
lucky ones. Another bank note exchange from Fiskernes bank dated 23 AUG. 1966.
3- This shows where we moored in Tromso.
Page No. 4
on 9 / 5 / 2012
From Fred QM2/1957, this was sent to me after a crew member
of the Spar found this site,
he was on board the Spar -403 during the
"Northwest Passage" in 1957.
For now I'll just put his first name, Fred... Sorry I didn't get back to you sooner.
The holiday became quite busy with
company from out of town.
Young man, I mean to tell you, your Coast Guard
related stories, videos are over the top. Very professional. My contacts with CG
Historian, trying to recover anything on the passage has been poor at best. I
did see a film produced by the CG called "CG Cutters Around The Continent". At
the end of that clip, there is a shot of the Spar mooring in Bristol with the
"Northwest Passage pennant" flying. I sewed that pennant with help from a couple
of other shipmates. Our 2/C Gunners Mate designed the Polar Bear for the flag. I
got the idea for a flag from the HMCS Labrador. They had a couple flags hoisted
of their accomplishments. I ran the idea by Capt Cowing and he gave me the go
ahead. I still have that pennant. Lt. Albanese, XO said I had to turn the flag
in because they wanted it to go with the U.S. Flag to the R.I. museum. I went to
Capt Cowing and he told the XO that I could have it. My kids used it for show
and tell. Here is another fact about the trip that is not mentioned anywhere.
There were two rescues calls. First one was the Air Force B-47. The next one
came while at anchor at the head of Narragansett Bay. I had the 04-08 watch and
was getting the bridge brass polished and cleaned up before the 40 footer
brought out the press who was to ride the rest of the way into Bristol with us.
I can't remember who was on look-out with me but he calls down to me saying he
thinks this Moore McCormick freighter is displaying a distress signal. I get on
the light, sure enough, they had run aground on seals ledge. I call the engine
room to put us on line and then I called Capt Cowing. I was on the light with
the freighter and they told me they were not in any danger yet. Cowing hits the
bridge jawing at me saying I had better know what the hell is going on. Now we
had notified district HQ that we were involved in a rescue. District tells us to
proceed to Bristol for our ten am reception and they would leave the 40 footer
standing by. HQ dispatched the Cutter General Green (125') out of Woods Hole.
The press on board, we headed in with the XO at the con and I on the helm. The
freighter did sink a week or two after. A storm came in and she broke up.
That trip you made had to be quite the highlight of your tour. I would have
loved to been aboard for that one. It's a long time away from home port and at
the time you think it will never end.
I am at awe of today's Coast Guard. No
more Navy hand-me-dawns.
How did you get into the video business? It doesn't
look like a hobby with you. You put some work and effort in the CG productions
that are first class. I would not want to take your only DVD copy. I would be
afraid it might get lost or damaged in route. I don't know how many of the 1957
crew are alive. I'm 74 and I know, at the time, I was one of the younger
members. I enlisted at 17. I am so old that my boot camp company was "Nan 25",
the old phonic alphabet.
I'm not the sharpest tack on the board when it
come to this machine. There is a lot of "old Grandpa, I will help you" going on
around here. If your comfortable with mailing your copy, I will get it copied
here and return it to you. I sure wouldn't want anything to happen to it. There
might be other crew members out there who would like a copy.
Your contributions have made my family and I forever
Thank you and your family for your input. Hope to keep in touch.
Thank you so much Fred for your comment,
Story & visiting my web site. I am glad you enjoyed it. Tom Hough EN3.
A letter to
My version of honor respect and devotion to duty.
Click belowfor a short video.
This is the
table cloth the 4 girls signed for me when we were in Tromso Norway.
There was no paper - so it had to
Pictures below are just some
more mementos to bring back with me,
free souvenirs if you will. This is
the first I seen these since the trip.
Picture on the left is
from Denmark.Click onto each item to read.
Click once to enlarge image - Click
twice to enlarge it more.
A very close call one night - somewhere in the north Atlantic ocean.
No. 1 No. 2 No. 3
No. 4 No. 5 No. 6
No. 1 No. 2 No. 3
No. 19 No. 20 No. 21
No. 16 No. 17 No. 18
No. 13 No. 14 No. 15
No. 10 No. 11 No. 12
No. 7 No. 8 No. 9
No. 1 No. 2
No. 3 No. 4
Spar trip pictures
Click below for 18 Pages of
original Spar wlb 403 "1966"
Cruise, PDF format
Click below for you tube of the Spar wlb-403
Click onto card on right to read