Category: History

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: 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.

The Long Blue Line: Early African American service—first to serve and first to sacrifice

Very rare and faded photograph showing the original Pea Island Life-Saving Station crew and keeper, Richard Etheridge, on the left side. (U.S. Coast Guard)

African Americans comprise the longest serving minority in the United States Coast Guard. They were the first to serve and, in many ways, were the first to sacrifice, pioneering the way ahead for all minorities in the Coast Guard, U.S. military, and the nation.

The Long Blue Line: “CG 1”—the Coast Guard’s first aircraft

Close-up of an OL-5 cockpit with an air-cooled machine gun mounted aft for aerial use of force and law enforcement interdiction. (U.S. Coast Guard)

In 1925, using borrowed Navy aircraft, the Coast Guard demonstrated the value of air assets through the first aerial law enforcement assist and the first aviation interdiction. The next year, Congress appropriated $162,000 to purchase the first five Coast Guard aircraft, designed specifically for the Service’s needs.

Cutter Mackinaw to mark 20th Chicago Christmas Ship anniversary

The U.S. Coast Guard Cutter Mackinaw (WLBB-30) delivers Christmas trees from northern Michigan to Chicago every year as a part of Chicago’s Christmas Ship program. The one-of-a-kind icebreaker and its predecessor, USCGC Mackinaw (WAGB-83), have delivered more than 25,000 Christmas trees to Chicago families in the past 20 years. U.S. Coast Guard photo by Cmdr. John M. Stone.

Continuing a 20-year tradition, the Coast Guard Cutter Mackinaw will deliver 1,200 Christmas trees as part of Chicago’s Christmas Ship program. The annual tree delivery dates back more than a century when brothers August and Herman Schuenemann sold and gave away Christmas trees from the Chicago waterfront.