Author: mamanning1

The Long Blue Line: 140 years ago–FRC hero William Chadwick and the fight for the George Taulane

Rare vintage photograph of William Chadwick, heroic Gold Lifesaving Medal keeper of the Green Island Lifesaving Station, after his retirement from active service. (Courtesy of Morton Bell)

As it has for other enlisted heroes, the United States Coast Guard will be commissioning a new Fast Response Cutter in honor of William Chadwick, recipient of the Congressional Gold Lifesaving Medal. This essay tells the story of Chadwick, including his life, his service in the United States Lifesaving Service and his famous rescue of the George Taulane, which pitted man against Mother Nature.

The Long Blue Line: Buffalo’s “White Hurricane” and the final hours of Light Vessel 82

Light Vessel 82 in Buffalo Harbor not long after it was raised to the surface in September 1915. (U.S. Coast Guard)

LV-82, the most modern lightship of its time in the U.S. Lighthouse Service fleet, disappeared during the “White Hurricane” storm in the Great Lakes in 1913. A year later, the body of Chief Engineer Charles Butler floated to the surface, but the bodies of other crew members were never found.

Legacy of Light: Diamond Head Light guides mariners into Hawaii

The 64-foot-tall Diamond Head Light shines a white light that can be seen for 17 nautical miles away and a red sector light that can be seen for 14 nautical miles away. U.S. Coast Guard photo by Petty Officer 3rd Class Matthew D. Rusich.

Diamond Head Light shines from a U.S. Coast Guard facility on an extinct volcano overlooking one of the most popular beaches in the world. The 64-foot-tall lighthouse shines a white light that can be seen for 17 nautical miles, and to mark the dangerous shoal, a red sector light that can be seen for 14 nautical miles.

The Long Blue Line: RM3 Floyd Wilvers—Coast Guard destroyer escort veteran

A collection of Coast Guard memorabilia that is displayed on a shelf in Mr. Wilvers’ home. (MST2 Jeffrey McConnell, USCG)

For most 17-year-olds, the years of graduating high school, attending college or trade school, and beginning the first steps into adulthood are a time of unbridled optimism and possibility. For Wilmington, North Carolina native Floyd Wilvers, now 92, turning age 17 meant a voyage into the unknown laced with fear, but also a sense of patriotism and duty.

The Long Blue Line: C.W. Lawrence—tamer of America’s maritime frontier and first PACAREA cutter

Painting of Captain Ottinger and crewmembers from the Lawrence putting down the mutiny on board the Challenge. (Coast Guard Collection)

The crew of the Lawrence, the Pacific’s first revenue cutter, put down mutinies, interdicted smugglers, saved vessels in distress, charted the California coast and tamed America’s maritime frontier, all in the vessels short 4-year lifetime.

The Long Blue Line: Leyte liberation—Merry Christmas from the General and the dead of LST-66

Photo of LST-66 anchored in the San Francisco Bay after her return from the war. The black and white image shows the effects of the kamikaze attack on her aft starboard side. (U.S. Coast Guard Collection)

Seventy-five years ago, on December 25, 1944, after a six-week campaign to liberate the Philippine island of Leyte, Allied forces under General Douglas Macarthur were mopping up the last vestiges of Japanese resistance. The invasion of the Philippines was one of the last major land battles of the Pacific War leading up to the surrender of Japan. By the 26th, MacArthur announced the end of organized resistance on Leyte. It was a fitting Christmas gift to the Philippine people and MacArthur’s forces would pursue the enemy back to the island nation’s capital in Manila.