Tacoma’s World War II Era Coast
to Escort Square-Rigger Eagle into
July 2, 2008
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.
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.
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
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.”
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
For more information
about the CG-83527 and Combatant Craft of America go to
www.cg83527.org or phone(360) 437-0125.