This Day in Coast Guard History – Sept. 21

Sunday, September 20, 2009

1791- Secretary of the Treasury Alexander Hamilton authorized an allowance of 9 cents for every ration that Revenue officers did not draw.

1922- Congress authorized officers of the Customs and of the Coast Guard to board and examine vessels, reaffirming authority to seize and secure vessels for security of the revenue under act of March 2, 1799.

1938-A hurricane hit the northeast coast, wreaking havoc among the lighthouses and the light keepers there.  First assistant keeper Walter B. Eberle of the Whale Rock light was killed when his lighthouse was swept into the sea.  The wife of head keeper Arthur A. Small was killed when she was swept away from the Palmer Island Light Station.  The keeper of the Prudence Island Light Station's wife and son were drowned when that light station was swept into the sea.  Many more stations and depots were severely damaged as well.

1957- The German training barque Pamir with 90 persons on board, including 54 German naval cadets, foundered and sank in extremely rough seas 500 miles west of the Azores.  The CGC Absecon, manning Ocean Station DELTA, intercepted the SOS message and immediately proceeded to the scene.  Three days later, the cutter and assisting vessels rescued six survivors, but the remaining 84 remained missing.  The search continued for seven days, with the Absecon directing on-scene operations of 60 merchant vessels from 13 nations, as well as American and Portugese aircraft.

1987- Coast Guard units responded when two freighters, the Pacbaroness and Atlantic Wing, collided in a dense fog off the coast of Santa Barbara.  The Pacbaroness sank, causing a large oil spill.  Coast Guard units that responded included: CGCs Conifer & Point Judith; AIRSTAs Los Angeles, Sacramento, & San Francisco; MSO Los Angeles/Long Beach; Pacific Strike Team; MSD Santa Barbara; 11th District (m) and (dpa); Public Affairs Liaison Office and the Public Information Assist Team from Headquarters.

1989- Coast Guard units from New York rescued 61 survivors of U.S. Air Flight 5050 after it skidded off a runway of LaGuardia Airport and into the Rikers Island Channel.  Two persons were killed.

1989- Hurricane Hugo made landfall on the continental United States at Charleston, South Carolina.  The Coast Guard's emergency command post had to be abandoned when the roof almost blew off.  Base Charleston suffered severe damage, as well.  Coast Guard units immediately began relief operations.  Aircraft were airborne at first light that morning.  They conducted SAR, performed medical evacuations, provided emergency communications with stricken areas, and transported relief personnel and equipment.  More aircraft were flown in from AIRSTAs Traverse City and Mobile.  From their staging area at AIRSTA Savannah, they delivered food and water to hard-hit areas such as McClellanville, SC, where 200 people were isolated and the entire town destroyed.

(Source: USCG Historian’s Office)

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