This Day in U.S. Coast Guard History - March 9

Wednesday, March 09, 2011
1928-On 9 March 1928 a pulling surfboat with nine men aboard, under the command of Boatswain's Mate First Class William Cashman, got underway from the Manomet Life-Saving to go to the rescue of the steamer Robert E. Lee.  The Lee had grounded on Mary Ann Rocks in a heavy gale.  While returning to the station the surfboat capsized due to extremely heavy seas, spilling all nine men into the water.  Six were rescued but "Captain" Cashman, Surfman Frank W. Griswold, and Surfman Edward R. Stark perished in the line of duty in the freezing water.  During the on-going search and rescue operations all 236 passengers and crew from the Robert E. Lee were saved.
 
1944- The U-225 torpedoed and sank the Coast Guard-manned destroyer escort USS Leopold(DE-319) off Iceland.  The attack was one of the first times the Germans used a newly developed acoustic torpedo successfully.  All 13 officers and 148 (out of 186) enlisted men on board were killed.  The 28 survivors were rescued by the USS Joyce (DE-317), another Coast Guard-manned destroyer escort.
 
1946- The Coast Guard-manned LST-767 was damaged in a hurricane near Okinawa.  She was later declared a total loss and was decommissioned.
 
1966- CGC Point White, on duty with Coast Guard Squadron One, Division 13, in Vietnam, captured a Vietcong junk after a running firefight.  Point White was in Vietnam only a month when she started conducting patrols on a VC-controlled area of the Soi Rap River.  Point Whiteused a plan of steaming out of the patrol area and covertly returning.  On 9 March she spotted a junk crossing the river and attempted to stop it.  The junk opened fire with small arms, including automatic weapons.  Point White returned the fire and rammed the junk, throwing the occupants into the water. The cutter’s commanding officer, LTJG  Eugene J. Hickey, rescued a survivor who turned out to be a key VC leader of the Rung Sat Secret Zone.  During March, three WPBs of Division 13 killed twenty-seven VC in action, captured seven more, and confiscated considerable contraband.
 
1996- The first "all-Coast Guard" Ceremonial Honor Guard carried out a wreath laying at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier in Arlington National Cemetery.
 
(Source: USCG Historian’s Office)
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