Post WWII SAR Duty
In his own words - Fred C. Noble. RD2 83412
I came aboard the 83412 in 1962 as a SNRD. She was stationed at Vallejo, CA. Her duties were SAR in the waters of Suisun Bay and San Pablo Bay between Sacramento and San Francisco, CA. The crew on the 83412 was a great group of guys and the duty was outstanding. We moored at a Naval Reserve Training Center at the foot of Vallejo Blvd, which was within walking distance of downtown Vallejo and across the estuary from Mare Isl. Naval Shipyard. Our mooring neighbors were a Sea Scout utility boat, an Army tug or utility and a decommissioned WW2 diesel submarine ( don't recall the name ).
My duties were varied as was the case with everyone but mainly I was the Radarman, Radioman, Quartermaster, ET and part time boat handler. The skipper was a BMC, we also had an EN1, EN2, BM2, CS3 , SA, FN, FA and myself. While in port we stayed on telephone standby for SAR calls from CG San Francisco. However, every Friday we set out for the weekend usually crewed with 4 or 5 We spent the weekend doing routine boarding inspections and responded to SAR radio calls from CGSF or private boats. When things were quite we tried to find a good Rockfish area and set out some lines for some fresh stripers. I don't know how many thousands of boats there were in the area but it seemed as if they all knew we were around whenever one went aground and needed a tow or some other emergency. It always amazed me to see where our boat could go. Those engines would push us up some water so skinny the depth finder showed no water under our belly and the mud bottom would be flying up in the air at the stern.
We had quite a few missing boats /persons calls several of which resulted in drowning and some of which ended up by us finding the boat at some marina with it's owner & party having a good time at the bar and neglecting to call their families who were worried because they were not back when they were expected. Also had a couple of calls to dock fires. With all that gasoline onboard we usually kept a pretty safe distance or we might have become part of it. One of the most serious calls we responded to one night was for a tug which was capsized by it's tow. By the time we reached the scene the tug had gone down. Two of the crew went overboard and were picked up, however, two other crewmen were in the berthing area and went down with the tug. We located the tug and worked with a couple of divers to retrieve the bodies. The only off shore trips we ever made ( out around the Fallon Islands ) was for a couple of day and night Ditch & Rescue exercises with a CG aircraft. Needless to say with only a Bendix surface radar and an RDF our scores were not that high for tracking and laying that bird down.
I was stationed on her for about 1 year, made RD3 and was transferred to the Rockaway in Staten Island, NY, finished my time in the CG on the "Rock" making RD2 and was discharged in Oct. 1964. I believe sometime in 1963 the 83412 was sailed to Cape May and decommissioned, boy would I have loved to make that trip.
I have a lot of good memories of those days and I don't have a single regret other than I would have loved to spend more time on the 83412.
In his own words -- John Estep, RD2,83491
Fresh out of Radarman school in Groton, Conn., I was transferred back to the 8th Coast Guard District in Sept.1956. After a couple weeks at COTP New Orleans, I was further transferred to Grand Isle, LA, aboard the WPB 83491
Life in Grand Isle was something less than I expected, mainly because of the environment. Never had I seen such persistent mosquitoes in my life. They would chase you at top speed until you were either under water or inside the refrigerator. They were so big that one would uncover you while the others would devour you and leave only blood spots on your rack.
So it came as a real pleasure to go back to New Orleans on a
72 hr. pass after my first three weeks under these conditions. But my pleasure
was short lived when half way through my 72 hrs, we got word of an approaching
storm, later to be named "FLOSSIE". So, my shipmates and I made it back to Grand
Isle to start buttoning everything down. An 83-footer is no match for a
hurricane, so we were to stay tied up to the dock and ride it out. (In later
years I was in some pretty rough waters in the Caribbean.)