Sunday, Nov. 11, 2018, will mark the 100th anniversary of the end of hostilities during World War I. On the 11th hour of the 11th day of November 1918, the guns that caused such destruction fell silent, ending what to that time was the most bloody conflict humanity had ever fought.
Lt. John McGourty, 36, was a career Coast Guardsman, serving 13 years. He was also a father and a husband who lost his life when a German submarine sank Coast Guard Cutter Tampa, killing all 138 people aboard, off the coast of Wales just weeks before World War I ended in 1918.
The first German submarine operations on U.S. waters took place not in World War II, but during World War I. With responsibility to guard the coast, the U.S. Coast Guard had several encounters with these early U-boat attacks, including those of U-156. Coast Guard aviator Lt. Philip Eaton played an important role in this battle.
Algonquin, Manning, Ossipee, Seneca, Tampa and Yamacraw. One hundred years ago, these were the six Coast Guard cutters selected for overseas ocean escort convoy duty during the United States’ participation in WWI. With the U.S. declaring war on Imperial Germany on April 6, 1917, the Coast Guard was assigned to the jurisdiction of the U.S. Navy for the duration of the war. Chosen for their long-range cruising capabilities and larger size, these cruising cutters were instructed to report to various east coast naval shipyards.
These six cutters and their brave crews stood a difficult, dangerous and, at times, monotonous convoy duty. They exhibited valor and courage, experienced harrowing conditions and loss, but at all times, they lived up to the service’s core values of honor, respect and devotion to duty.
On April 6, 1917, the U.S. declared war on Germany. With the code words “Plan One, Acknowledge” transmitted to Coast Guard cutters and units, the
service was transferred from the Treasury Department to the Navy and placed on a wartime footing. WWI was the first true test of the Coast Guard’s combat capability and cemented the service as a military agency, preparing the service for the challenges it would face in WWII.
For more than 150 years, servicemembers from every military branch have been laid to rest at Arlington National Cemetery. The cemetery has a free app to help visitors locate gravesites, monuments and more. It also includes a self-guided Coast Guard tour focusing on points of interest relating to the Coast Guard, Coast Guard aviation and notable pioneers of naval aviation.
The E.S.S. Pursuit is anchored outside the harbor off the tip of Fort Taber in New Bedford, Mass on Monday. (Photo by Associated Press) The Coast Guard is working with the EPA and other officials to quarantine and decontaminate a fishing vessel exposed to mustard gas when ten munition shells were caught in their dredging