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and Their Cutters

The Iron Sailors of the Last Wooden Patrol Boat (WPB)

The men who served aboard these cutters were known as the  Iron Men in Wooden Ships and to this day remember fondly going to sea in these proud cutters.

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Take a look around -- the coffee pot is on. This site is for and about the iron sailors of the last wooden patrol boat and to provide a repository for data about these cutters. You will learn about: our history, what we did and who we are ~ along with a sea story or  two.  Search the Cutter Data base, take a tour of the cutter, look at pictures, and former 83' sailors are encouraged sign  in and to post on the Forum Page

To 83' Sailors

Please email  your name, cutter number(s), home port(s), dates served on cutter(s) [the year(s) if exact dates unknown], the cutter number and home port of other 83' cutters you know about. To do this, click "Webmaster"  on "Comments to Webmasters" at bottom of this page.  Thanks

~The 83 Footer Mission ~

The 83 footer story began in 1940 when the first of 230 cutters was built for the USCG. The wooden cutters were used for convoy duty in the Gulf and ASW patrol off the east coast of the U.S.  Sixty cutters participated in the Normandy invasion as RESFLO 1 where they rescued 1,437 men and one women (a nurse).  They were also known as the Matchbox Fleet.  Fifty-four cutters were sent to the South Pacific for various duties and as rescue craft for the expected invasion of Japan.  . The surrender of the last Japanese bastion in the Marianas took place on the deck of the 83434 when the Japanese formally surrendered the island of Aquijan.

After the war, sixty-one of the 83 footer fleet was utilized by the Coast Guard for Search and Rescue. During the cold war, most were assigned to Harbor Entrance Patrol duty. The last 83 footer, the WPB-83484, was decommissioned on April 15, 1963

The days of these wooden cutters have passed, but those boats and crews that gave them life and personality are remembered as threads in the intricate fabric that makes up our maritime heritage.

Iron sailors never die, they just rust away!


CG83300 picture courtesy of George Bieda of Windjammer Arts www.windjammer-arts.com

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This page was last updated on 07/01/13