On New Year’s Eve the midnight log entry at a Coast Guard unit takes on a life of its own and is traditionally written as a poem. The Compass reached out to those standing the mid-watch to share the tradition of applying verse to the log as we all rung in 2013.
Below are the watch entries for those who were ashore, but you can also read the log entries from those who were standing the watch afloat.
Station Cape Disappointment
Cape D New Year by BMC Jeremiah M. Wolf
‘Twas the night before New Year, and all through the station,
all those on duty mourned the end of Christmas vacation.
The boats were doubled up in their slips with care,
as an eerie calm fog hung in the air.
The non rates were nestled all snug in their beds,
While visions of “Call of Duty” danced in their heads.
The engineers were showered, and clean ups were done.
All were exhausted from the holiday routine fun.
When out on the bar there arose such a clatter,
I sprang from the bed to see what was the matter.
Away to the tower I flew on the double,
to look through the “Big Eyes” and see who was in trouble.
The bar foamed and heaved from tip to tip,
monstrous breakers that would capsize any ship.
When, what to my wondering eyes crested a swell,
but a rowboat calmly navigating ‘round the bell.
With a little old driver, so lively and nimble,
I knew in a moment it must be Sumner I. Kimball!
More rapid than lightning his orders they came,
and he whistled, and shouted, and called them by name!
“Now, Beckett! Now, Molloy! Now, Mantell, and McGrew!
On, Fedorowicz! On, Panichello! On, Abold, and Wolf even you!
To the beach Surfman! Out here one and all!
Now square away! Square away! Square away all!”
The crew arose to the call from their warm racks;
they grabbed their dry suits from their SAR sacks.
They put on their boots and tied them tight.
They put on gloves to guard against the cold night.
They assembled on the beach, and heard a tremulous scream,
As the rowboat surfed to the beach smooth as a dream.
As I looked through the combers, I saw it pitching about,
It was another rowboat with Joshua James no doubt.
He was dressed in Sou’wester, from his head to his foot,
And his clothes were all tarnished with salt and with soot.
His gruff voice thundered over the sea,
“Hear me well crew of Cape D!!!”
“You Guardians of the Graveyard, you chosen few
with this New Year you have much work to do.
You’ll have powerful storms. You’ll have lives to save.
You’ll have more than your share of chances to be brave.”
“But that’s not enough, not enough at all.
It takes more than courage to answer the call.
You have to be the best, and do your best every day,
Or it is those in peril on the sea who will pay.”
“You must master your craft, and then learn some more.
You must train hard at sea and ashore.
Proficiency is the word; let it anchor your ship.
Never let that line slip from grip.”
He sprang to his lifeboat, and called out to the crew,
“Alright, we’ve got some surf training to do!”
They manned the oars and pushed out lifeboats one and two.
The waves broke steadily as the lifeboats crashed on through.
But I heard Kimball exclaim, ‘ere they drove out of sight,
“Proficiency to all, and to all a good-night!”
Sector Los Angeles-Long Beach
Midnight strikes, another year has gone by;
2013 is upon us, all we can say is “Oh my!!”
Winds and seas are flat calm, no advisories are posted;
Only four here on watch, with our families and shipmates being toasted.
Three cutters in port, with just one underway;
Ready to respond, should they be needed this day.
All equipment is up with all lights in the green;
Just one call received, reporting a strange light that was seen.
No active SAR pending, not even a peep;
After this night’s celebration, seems everyone’s asleep.
There is no other place where we have to be;
Than standing the watch here at Sector LA-LB.
Happy New Years to all Shipmates around the world and at sea,
From LT Arumae, Petty Officers Doherty and Hall and Mr. Phee!
Base Elizabeth City
SK1 Brooke Hall
T’was the eve of the new year upon Base Elizabeth City,
Drafting this here log…with a dash of something witty.
The calm brackish waters of the river reflect a quarter moon,
And now to reflect upon this past year, as it will be casting away so soon.
Behold two thousand and twelve, another year of modernization,
The separate commands upon the base have a shared appreciation
For the fresh-faced buildings all nearly completed after years of anticipation.
When it comes to our customers and Coasties alike, we hope to exceed all expectations.
Instructors visited our base this year to enlighten the crew with consideration
For the strength and knowledge generated by a diverse work population.
If nothing else the class-style training offered a rare chance for socialization.
And on the topic of social gatherings I would be amiss if I forgot to mention…
How our morale committee really stepped up their game with some serious determination To raise morale throughout the base and promote mass participation.
What better way to relieve our stress than through a break for recreation?
A busy year has come and gone without a shred of hesitation,
Complying with audits, conducting inspections, inventories submitted without provocation,
Construction in progress, work orders tackled, help-tickets resolved to users’ satisfaction,
IDs issued, Travel Orders too, prescriptions filled and we’ve received our vaccinations.
Base Elizabeth City is a Jack-of-all-trades in our ever-changing organization
Accomplishing numerous tasks and recognizing individuals for deserved commendation.
And as we quietly wind down on this last night of the year…one last contemplation
Have we made you proud and served you well….citizens of our nation?
Sector Columbia River
YN1 Christi Yowell
2012 was one heck of a ride.
Earthquakes, tsunamis, not even the Mayans on our side.
As our helos and boats are out in the night, someone thinks it’s funny to blind us with green light.
But we do not give up, the mission is not complete.
With lives to be saved, the best will not be beat.
We call on our backup, yeoman, medical, and SK.
And let us not forget the OS that radio help is on the way.
We search for the helpless through the wind, cold, and rain; Hoping we will save them, no families left with grief and pain.
Some give their lives so that others may live, We are THE COAST GUARD FAMILY, our selfless actions is all we have to give.
Training Center Cape May
Chief Petty Officer William Herr
Before the surfman crosses ore’ the bar, Before the helo flies through the night air, They came from places near and also far, Knowing that their journey would start right there.
They came to Cape May on the Jersey Shore, To be part of a maritime service, Knowing they would be civilians no more.
Their journey ahead making them nervous.
Off the bus to the triangles they stood, Yelling at them “Keep your eyes in the boat,”
They had to stay strong, they knew that they could, These lessons one day would keep them afloat.
Their lives would all change from this very day, Company Commanders will show the way.
Their precious hair was the first thing to go, Their clothes now all matched, a deep shade of blue, Driving wind, pouring rain or sun or snow, Would not stop them if there was work to do.
They drill all night on the manual of arms, Keeping in step marching in formation, Knowing soon they will answer the alarms, Aboard a cutter or at a station.
The company earns their streamers and caps, The confidence course brings strength that they need, Whether its pugil sticks or running laps, By working together they can succeed.
They fight fires with hoses and water,
To save someone’s son or someone’s daughter.
They learn that service is all about pride, Even when times get rough you cannot quit, Because your shipmates are there by your side, If you stick together you can do it.
Then it comes time to put it together,
They begin the culminating event.
It takes their all and makes them all better, And when it is complete they are all spent.
Honor, Respect, Devotion to duty,
They stand before the world as Coast Guardsmen.
One of us ready to take on the sea,
Taking the helm with our coast to defend.
Taking the watch ready to save the day,
It all begins here at TRACEN Cape May.