Education · Kate's Corner · News · U.S. Coast Guard

KATE’S CORNER #10

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.

Katherine_Walker552_1_sm
The CGC Katherine Walker (WLM 552) breaks ice on the Hudson River.”; Photo No. 000222-N-8023L-003; 22 February 2000; photo by PA3 Robert Lanier.

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.

21 Dec 1902 - Times Picayune - Kate Walker loresInformation is from https://www.uscg.mil/history/webcutters/WLB_Photo_Index.asphttp://www.atlanticarea.uscg.mil/Our-Organization/District-1/District-Cutters/USCGC-Katherine-Walker;
http://www.atlanticarea.uscg.mil/Our-Organization/District-1/District-Cutters/USCGC-Ida-Lewis/; and
http://www.atlanticarea.uscg.mil/Our-Organization/District-1/District-Cutters/USCGC-Abbie-Burgess

Submitted September 15, 2017

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U.S. Lighthouse Society News is produced by the U.S. Lighthouse Society to support lighthouse preservation, history, education and research. Please join the U.S. Lighthouse Society if you are not already a member. If you have items of interest to the lighthouse community and its supporters, please email them to candace@uslhs.org.

Event · News · U.S. Coast Guard

Ponce Inlet Celebrates Partnership with Coast Guard

Jessica Guidroz Swearing In
The U.S. Coast Guard (USCG) Ponce Inlet Station’s Aids to Navigation (ATN) Officer in Charge Jessica Guidroz’s re-enlistment ceremony was recently held at Ponce Inlet Lighthouse.

Continuing a long tradition of partnership between the USCG Ponce Inlet Station and the Ponce Inlet Lighthouse, Boatswains Mate Petty Officer First Class Jessica Guidroz reenlisted near the front steps of the Ponce DeLeon Inlet Lighthouse and Museum, Ponce Inlet, Florida, at a 10:30 a.m. ceremony on August 24, 2017. The five-year re-enlistment and swearing-in event was conducted by CWO4/BOSN Mike Lemay of Jacksonville Station, and attended by members of Guidroz’s family, Ponce Inlet Lighthouse Museum officials, and visitors to the museum that day. Guidroz was first named the station’s officer-in-charge in July 2016. Previous service saw her onboard the USCG Cutter Eagle which conducts summer-long Coast Guard Academy cadet-at-sea training.

The Ponce Inlet Coast Guard Station provides search and rescue, law enforcement, pollution control and maintenance of aids to navigation for an area which encompasses the Matanzas Inlet south to Haulover Canal. The Ponce Inlet Coast Guard Station was established in 1938 on the south side of the Ponce DeLeon Inlet.

The Ponce Inlet Coast Guard Station in 1966. National Archives photo

In 1939 the Lighthouse Service was merged with the U.S. Coast Guard. The Lighthouse Service personnel were given the choice of retirement or joining the Coast Guard with similar rank. Staff at the Ponce Inlet Lighthouse joined the Coast Guard, and former principal keeper Edward L. Meyer became officer in charge of the station. During World War II the Ponce Inlet Lighthouse principal keeper’s residence became a barracks for Coast Guardsmen, and the lighthouse station, with its 175-foot tower became a lookout post, training facility, and radio navigation beacon base. After the war, the station continued to be maintained by the Coast Guard until the Ponce De Leon Inlet Preservation Association began managing the property in 1972. In the intervening years, a long and fruitful partnership developed between the Lighthouse Museum and the Coast Guard facility, with co-celebrations of service continuing today.

low res 130 Anniversary flier

Ponce Inlet Lighthouse and Museum is planning another celebration on November 10, 2017, to commemorate the station’s 130th birthday. On November 1, 1887, Principal Keeper William R. Rowlinski climbed the 213 steps of the tall, red-brick giant to its lantern room. Rowlinski proceeded to light the five-concentric-wick kerosene lamp. The brilliant, fixed white light blazed forth from the Barbier & Fenestre first-order lens. About two months earlier, a Notice to Mariners was issued from the Lighthouse Board formally announcing the new light’s presence on the coast atop the 175-foot tower. It had taken three years to complete the station on the previously dark 100-mile stretch of coast of East Florida. The Notice also carried the Longitude and Latitude positions, bearings and distances of two other “prominent objects,” the “Cape Canaveral Light-House” at 41 nautical miles to the South, and the “St. Augustine Light-House,” some 52 nautical miles to the North.

In 1970, after more than 80 years of service, the U.S. Coast Guard decommissioned the light station and formulated plans to demolish the structures and use the rubble as an artificial reef. A group of Ponce Inlet residents, alarmed by the potential loss of so much local and national history, formed the Ponce DeLeon Lighthouse Preservation Association, saved the tower and keepers’ residences from the wrecking ball, and has managed and operated the station as an attraction and museum ever since. Restoration continues to this day, and as a result in 1998 the once dilapidated station was recognized as a National Historic Landmark, one of only twelve historic U.S. lighthouses to be so honored. Welcoming more than 175,000 visitors each year, the station is acknowledged as one of the best preserved and most representative light stations in the nation.

Excerpted from submissions by John F. Mann, Lead Docent, Ponce Inlet Lighthouse and Museum, August 10 and 24, 2017

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U.S. Lighthouse Society News is produced by the U.S. Lighthouse Society to support lighthouse preservation, history, education and research. Please join the U.S. Lighthouse Society if you are not already a member. If you have items of interest to the lighthouse community and its supporters, please email them to candace@uslhs.org.

Lifesaving Service · News · U.S. Coast Guard

February 18th Marks the 65th Anniversary of the Pendleton Rescue

The stern of the tanker Pendleton as she rested on a sand bar off the coast of Cape Cod. USCG photo by Richard C. Kelsey courtesy Jeff Shook
The stern of the tanker Pendleton as she rested on a sand bar off the coast of Cape Cod. Note the Jacobs ladder used by the crew to reach the rescue boat. USCG photo by Richard C. Kelsey courtesy Jeff Shook

The heroic 1952 rescue of 32 crew members aboard the sinking tanker Pendelton was dramatized in the recent movie “The Finest Hours.” The Chatham Historical Society will recognize its 65th anniversary with events hosted at the Atwood House & Museum that include a special screening of a documentary film of several witnesses who shared their memories of that day.

Seaman Irving Maske (foreground) and BM1 Bernard Webber on board the CG36500 after arriving safely back in Chatham. Photo by Richard C. Kelsey courtesy Jeff Shook.

The hero of the story, BM1 Bernard Webber, is not alive to participate in the commemoration, but he was contacted before the 50th anniversary of the rescue and his version of events are reflected in an article that appeared in the Naval Institute Proceedings in December 2001 and was reproduced on the U.S. Coast Guard’s website.

In their 36-foot motorboat Webber and his all-volunteer crew faced heavy seas in crossing a sandbar to reach the broken Pendleton. Pushed on its side by enormous waves, Webber’s self-righting lifeboat recovered each time, but its engines had to be restarted and in one dunking the compass was washed off its mount. Only with Webber’s remarkable skills as a boat handler and navigator, was the boat able to reach the Pendleton, rescue the crew in its stern, and return safely to Chatham. Thanks to the efforts of Webber and his three crewmen, all but one of those Pendleton crew members survived the ordeal. (The seven men who were in the bow of the vessel perished after the boat broke in two.)

For more information, see the recent Cape Cod Chronicle article and USCG’s 50th Anniversary post (2001).

On May 14, 1952, 21 Coast Guardsmen received medals for their roles in the rescue of 70 men from the tankers Pendleton and Fort Mercer during the same storm off Cape Cod. USCG photo
On May 14, 1952, 21 Coast Guardsmen received medals for their roles in the rescue of 70 men from the tankers Pendleton and Fort Mercer during the same violent storm off Cape Cod. USCG photo

Based on submission from the Society’s affiliate U.S. Life-Saving Service Heritage Association, February 15, 2017

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U.S. Lighthouse Society News is produced by the U.S. Lighthouse Society to support lighthouse preservation, history, education and research. Please consider joining the U.S. Lighthouse Society if you are not already a member. If you have items of interest to the lighthouse community and its supporters, please email them to candace@uslhs.org.

Keepers · News · U.S. Coast Guard

A Guiding Light

This article from the Coast Guard Mid Atlantic blog seems very appropriate as we celebrate Black History month. A Guiding Light describes John White’s experiences as Officer in Charge of Thomas Point Shoal Light Station, Maryland.

For a related video, goto https://www.dvidshub.net/video/434565/thomas-point-lighthouse-visit.

Original article by David R. Marin, USCG Petty Officer 2nd Class

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U.S. Lighthouse Society News is produced by the U.S. Lighthouse Society to support lighthouse preservation, history, education and research. Please consider joining the U.S. Lighthouse Society if you are not already a member. If you have items of interest to the lighthouse community and its supporters, please email them to candace@uslhs.org.