In late March 1945, nearly 1,300 ships of the Allied forces of America, Great Britain, Australia, New Zealand, and Canada assembled to support the largest amphibious operation of the Pacific War–the invasion of Okinawa and Ryukyu Islands.
In April 1943, Evans was assigned to Coast Guard Cutter Northland in the famed Greenland Patrol. Evans sailed on three missions on board Northland, which escorted vessels to Greenland twice, and then to Iceland on his final mission.
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.
In 1942, the crew of Coast Guard Cutter Icarus, commanded by Lt. Maurice Jester, sank German U-352 off the coast of North Carolina. Shortly after sinking, the Coast Guard crew rescued 33 survivors of the 48-man crew – they were the first enemy combatants captured by U.S. forces in World War II. The cutter was decommissioned in 1948 but will soon live on as the namesake of the sixth in the first flight of Offshore Patrol Cutters in the “Heritage”-class.
This is a story of a young seaman during WWII who befriended POWs over Betty Gable movies, played trumpet in the United States Coast Guard orchestra band in Charleston, South Carolina, and spent his later years performing with the likes of Duke Ellington and Tommy Dorsey. It’s not a story well-known, but a story worth knowing.
Like many selfless Coast Guardsmen, Lt. John Pritchard and Petty Officer First Class Benjamin Bottoms, a radioman, went in harm’s way to save lives only to sacrifice their own. During World War II, the Coast Guard ran the Greenland theatre of operations. It was one of the war’s deadliest battlegrounds, where men fought not only the enemy, but the elements as well.
On April 28, 2018, members of the U.S. Coast Guard Activities Europe attended the annual U.S. Memorial Wereth ceremony in Wereth, Belgium, to honor 11 African-American soldiers murdered by Nazi SS troops during the second day of the Battle of the Bulge. Each year members of the U.S. armed forces throughout Europe, including many members of U.S. Coast Guard Activities Europe, gather in the tiny hamlet of Wereth, Belgium, to help honor and pay respect to the 11 G.I.s from the U.S. Army 333rd Field Artillery Battalion and all African-American G.I.s who fought in Europe during WWII.
USS Big Horn was one of the only Q-Ships to serve in the U.S. Coast Guard performing combat missions, weather patrols and tanker duty. The ship and its crews marked a truly unique chapter in Coast Guard history.
The Coast Guard recently released the names of the newest Fast Response Cutters to be commissioned. Each FRC is named after a Coast Guard hero. One such Coast Guardsman is Maurice Jester, a WWII hero.
Today we reflect on the 75th anniversary of the attack on Guadalcanal and the heroic efforts of Signalman First Class Douglas Munro.