June 2008 CG Heritage Fleet Press Release

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CG  Heritage Fleet - Press Releaase

Tacoma’s World War II Era Coast Guard Cutter  
to Escort Square-Rigger Eagle into City

July 2, 2008

Contact:   Dan Withers/ (206) 947-2303

Chuck Fowler/ (360) 791-0818 / (360) 943-2858 nwnx@comcast.net

A restored World War II 83-foot wooden Coast Guard patrol boat assigned to Tacoma and south Puget Sound from 1945 to 1962 will escort “America’s Tall Ship,” the almost 300-foot training square-rigger Eagle, during the Tall Ships Tacoma parade of sail Thursday (July 3).   Based at the Coast Guard Academy in New London, CT, the Eagle is visiting Puget Sound for the first time in 20 years and this will be its first ever port call in Tacoma. 

The CG-83527, owned by the nonprofit Combatant Craft of America (CCA) organization based in Port Ludlow, was returned to Puget Sound in 2004 after 40 years in California.  For the past four years it has visited various ports as an educational and historical exhibit honoring Coast Guard patrol boats and those veterans who served aboard them.

The CG-83527 participated in Tall Ships Tacoma 2005 and following its Eagle escort duty will again be on public exhibit during the 2008 festival at the Northwest Passage Village on the southern end of the Foss Waterway.  Coast Guard veterans, some of whom served on the CG-83527 during the 1950’s and early 60’s, will be aboard to tell visitors about the 83-footers and others like it during times of both wartime and peacetime.  

Built in New York City in 1944, the last surviving World War II era 83-foot Coast Guard small cutter in near original military condition began its service on the Atlantic Coast and was sent to the Pacific and Puget Sound toward the end of the war.  It was assigned to Tacoma for 17 years and provided law enforcement, search and rescue, aids to navigation and boating safety services in south Puget Sound. 

In 1964 the CG-83527 was decommissioned and sold as surplus to a civilian owner who relocated it to Alameda, California where it became a live-aboard, floating home for more than 30 years.  When the owner died the cutter was donated to the American Patrol Boats Museum in Rio Vista, on the Sacramento River, where it was on exhibit before being acquired by the Combatant Craft of America in 2003 for restoration and exhibit.   It took the 1,000 mile-long trip home from California to Puget Sound in the summer of 2004.    

“We want to showcase the CG-83527 throughout Puget Sound as an accessible public historical exhibit and educational resource,” said Dan Withers, a Navy Vietnam veteran and CCA president.   “Also it will be an active, hands-on historical tribute to all those who served aboard these and other Coast Guard patrol boats.”   

The formerly Tacoma-based vessel is the CCA’s first heritage patrol boat acquisition, restoration and exhibit project.   Withers noted that it is appropriate that the group’s initial project is to preserve one of the Coast Guard’s most widely-known WWII and post-war era vessels.   The rugged boats were used extensively for combat rescue operations during D-Day invasion at Normandy, and for anti-submarine, convoy escort and other patrol duties in both the Atlantic and Pacific.   A total of 230 were built for the Coast Guard between 1941 and 1944 by Wheeler Shipbuilding, Inc. in New York City. 

For more information about the CG-83527 and Combatant Craft of America go to www.cg83527.org   or phone(360) 437-0125.