Oldest Coast Guard Vessel Decommissioned

Monday, February 12, 2007
The U.S. Coast Guard decommissioned its oldest vessel, retiring the cutter Storis with eight rings of a bell and the playing of taps in a gymnasium at the Kodiak Coast Guard Base. About 70 Storis crew members wearing dress blues stood at attention during the ceremony to retire the 64-year-old icebreaker. About 200 invited guests also attended.

Storis crews have boarded 7,500 vessels, saved 250 lives, kept 25 vessels from sinking, assisted 100,000 people and traveled 1.5 million miles.

The Storis has been patrolling Alaska waters since the late 1950s. Capt. James M. McCauley, commander of the Storis, thanked Kodiak for the town's hospitality as homeport.

McCauley's last outing with Storis was a 54-day patrol in the Gulf of Alaska and the Bering Sea. All 54 days were completed without a single day out of service. Hallmarks of the Storis career include sailing the North Atlantic during World War II, when the ship was the command center for a fleet that prevented Nazi Germany form establishing a foothold on Greenland. This was a critical part of the war effort, Brooks said, because weather stations in Greenland helped predict weather patterns in Europe. In the late 1940s, the ship supplied medical aid to Alaska villages while patrolling Southeast Alaska waters. In 1957, Storis sailed the Northwest Passage in a historic trip to survey a deep water route. The route was needed to help protect North America's Arctic Coast during the Cold War. Storis' most recent patrols were in Gulf of Alaska and Bering Sea conducting fisheries enforcement and search-and-rescue missions. Storis is a pioneer in the arena. In 1967, the Storis crew was the ship involved in the arrest of a Soviet fishing vessel operating in Alaska waters.

Since 1991, the Storis has been the oldest cutter in the Coast Guard, referred to as Queen of the Fleet. The hull number 38 is painted in gold on the ship's bow just forward of the distinctive red stripe signifying a U.S. Coast Guard vessel. With the decommissioning of the Storis, Coast Guard cutter Acushnet will become Queen of the Fleet. Acushnet is home ported in Ketchikan and patrols primarily in the Gulf of Alaska. Acushnet celebrated its 63rd birthday on Feb. 3. Source: Kodiak Daily Mirror

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