This Day in U.S. Coast Guard History – January 18
1953- A Coast Guard PBM seaplane crashed during takeoff after having rescued 11 survivors from a ditched U .S. Navy aircraft shot down off the coast of mainland China. A total of nine servicemen lost their lives in this crash, including five Coast Guardsmen.
1974- Coast Guard units rescued 61 crewmembers from the 551-foot tanker Keytrader and the 657-foot Norwegian freighter Baune after the two vessels collided on the night of 18 January 1974 in dense fog. 16 other crewmembers did not survive. The Keytrader was carrying 18,000 tons of fuel oil. A 53-foot Coast Guard vessel assisted in fighting the ensuing fire.
2003- On 18 January the CGC Walnut departed from her homeport in Honolulu, Hawaii and began her 10,000 mile transit to the Persian Gulf in support of Operation Iraqi Freedom. This 45 day transit was completed as quickly as possible with brief stops for fuel and food along the way in Guam, Singapore, Kuwait. The cutter deployed with an oil spill recovery system in the event the regime of Saddam Hussein committed any acts of environmental terrorism. When those threats did not materialize, the cutter then conducted maritime interception operations enforcing U.N. Security Council resolutions, participated in the search for two downed United Kingdom helicopters, and patrolled and provided assistance to captured Iraqi offshore oil terminals being secured by Coast Guard port security personnel. The cutter’s crew completely replaced 30 buoys and repaired an additional five along the 41-mile Khawr Abd Allah Waterway. This ATON mission vastly improved the navigational safety of the waterway for humanitarian aid, commercial, and military vessels sailing to the port and was a critical step to economic recovery for the people of Iraq.
(Source: USCG Historian’s Office)