During World War II, the Coast Guard cutter Thetis (WPC-115) was one of 11 cutters credited with sinking U-boats. One of the “B”-Class 165-foot cutters and the namesake of its class, Thetis is all but forgotten by most histories of the Coast Guard.
Today we continue the story U.S. Coast Guardsman Eliot Winslow and Nazi Johann-Heinrich Fehler.
This is the tale of two combat captains. Each of them shared a love for the sea, the ability to command a crew under extreme conditions, and a loyalty to their nation and its wartime cause. But at the same time, they fought on opposing sides of World War II.
This month marks the 70th anniversary of a decisive victory for the predecessor of Coast Guard Cutter Spencer. In the uncertain days of World War II, the Coast Guard-manned USS Spencer steamed alongside convoy ships maintaining long lines of food, men and war machines destined for the front lines of Europe. These ships faced a new, elusive enemy: U-boats. These submarines harassed the Allies’ supply lines, attacking at night and vanishing just as quickly. The crew of Spencer lived under constant threat of attack.
Senior Chief Petty Officer Michael Jensen pins a Purple Heart onto the chest of WWII Coast Guardsman Harry Milton Daube. (U.S. Coast Guard photo by Petty Officer 3rd Class Cindy Beckert) USS Leopold at her launching in 1943. (U.S. Naval Historical Center Photograph) World War II Coast Guardsman Harry Milton Daube, 88, the last living