This Day in Coast Guard History – April 16

Friday, April 16, 2010

1805-The cutter Louisiana engaged two pirate vessels that had been fitted out at New Orleans.  Twenty shots were exchanged but the pirate vessels escaped.

1851- The Minots Ledge Lighthouse, the first one built in the United States that was exposed to the full force of the ocean, was swept away by a storm with the loss of the two men manning it.

1943- Lieutenant Ross P. Bullard and Boatswain's Mate First Class C. S. "Mike" Hall boarded the U-175 at sea after their cutter, the USS Spencer, CG blasted the U-boat to the surface with depth charges when the U-boat attempted to attack the convoy the Spencer was escorting.  These Coast Guardsmen were part of a specially trained boarding party sent to board the submarine and seize any code-related documents and equipment aboard the U-boat before the Nazi crew could scuttle it.  The damage to the U-boat was severe, however, and it sank after both had boarded it and climbed the conning tower.  Both men ended up in the water as the U-boat slipped beneath the waves but both were pulled from the water unharmed.  Nevertheless, they carry the distinction of being the first American servicemen to board an enemy warship underway at sea since the War of 1812.  The Navy credited the Spencer with the U-boat kill.  The cutter rescued 19 of the U-boat's crew and a sister cutter, Duane, rescued 22.  One Spencer crewman was killed by friendly fire during the battle.

1987-LT Tom McClay received a direct commission as a flight officer for duty with the Coast Guard's E2C Hawkeyes.  LT McClay was the first Coast Guard flight officer. 

(Source: USCG Historian’s Office)

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