Kate Walker here, keeping the light on Robbins Reef. Last week I showed you a photo of USCGC Margaret Norvell. She wasn’t the only female keeper who has a ship bearing her name. I have one too. It warmed my spirit to be remembered almost 80 years after I retired.
The Coast Guard elected to name their new 175-foot coastal buoy tenders after famous personages of the Lighthouse Service, breaking a tradition that spanned more than one hundred years of naming tenders after flora.
USCGC Katherine Walker is homeported in Bayonne, New Jersey. Her area of responsibility spans from New Haven, Connecticut, and the north and south shores of Long Island to New York and New Jersey. USCGC Katherine Walker is responsible for a total of 335 aids to navigation. In addition to her primary mission of tending aids to navigation, USCGC Katherine Walker also conducts search and rescue; icebreaking; and ports, waterways, and coastal security.
My spirit was there when they launched her in 1997, overcome with gratitude that the Coast Guard has chosen to honor a small immigrant keeper who had loved her lighthouse and tended it faithfully for 29 years. And since the cutter was launched, when my spirit needs a little refreshment, I slip onto the forward deck and hang on to the rail while the wind blows my hair and puffs up my skirt. The crew is always startled when they bump into me because I make them shiver.
Nor are Maggie and I the only female keepers so honored. Homeported in Newport, Rhode Island, USCGC Ida Lewis’s area of responsibility spans from Long Island Sound, New York to Cape Cod, Massachusetts. USCGC Abbie Burgess is homeported in Rockland, Maine. Her area of responsibility spans the coast of Maine from Boothbay Harbor all the way to the Canadian Border and the St. Croix River, as well as the Penobscot and St. George Rivers. USCGC Kathleen Moore is a Sentinel-class first response cutter homeported in Key West, Florida. USCGC Barbara Mabrity is a buoy tender homeported in Mobile, Alabama.
Information is from https://www.uscg.mil/history/webcutters/WLB_Photo_Index.asp; http://www.atlanticarea.uscg.mil/Our-Organization/District-1/District-Cutters/USCGC-Katherine-Walker;
Submitted September 15, 2017
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