This Day in Coast Guard History – March 19
1943- British Steamer Svend Foyne was a victim of an iceberg collision off the southern tip of Greenland. One hundred forty-five persons were rescued by the Coast Guard and others. International Ice Patrol was suspended during this period (1942-1945).
1945-The first all-Coast Guard hunter-killer group ever established during the war searched for a reported German U-boat near Sable Island. The group was made up of the Coast Guard-manned destroyer escorts USS Lowe, Menges, Mosley, and Pride, and was under the overall command of CDR R. H. French, USCG. He flew his pennant from the Pride. Off Sable Island the warships located, attacked and sank the U-866 with the loss of all hands. Interestingly, the Menges had been a victim of a German acoustic torpedo during escort of convoy operations in the Mediterranean in 1944. The torpedo had detonated directly under her stern, causing major damage and casualties, but she remained afloat. She was later towed to port and the stern of another destroyer escort, one that had been damaged well forward, was welded onto the Menges. She then returned to action.
1989-The Aoyagi Maru ran aground on a reef in Lost Harbor, Alaska. She was declared a total loss after being gutted by fire when 1,200 pounds of explosives were ignited to burn off the 100,000 gallons of fuel left aboard and her cargo of 74,000 pounds of rotting cod.
(Source: USCG Historian’s Office)