Thursday, January 28, 2016

CG-36500 and The Pendleton

There's a movie out in theaters...   The Finest Hours.   I hope you'll get the chance to go see it.   We often see "based on a true story" or "inspired by true events" tacked on to the begining of various hollywood clunkers...  where reality is stretched out and doesn't live up to silliness on the screen.

In this case...  it is likely hollywood that will be outmatched by the stupifying events that actually took place.

18 February 1952....  two T2 tankers split in half in 40-60 foot seas off the coast of Cape Cod.  The coast guard rescued 70 men that day. 

The photo to the left is of the little boat that went out in those seas, blinding snow, and near hurricane winds to rescue the men of the TS Pendleton.  The recue boat was capsized several times... but it is a stubborn little bastard and kept righting itself.  The motor spent so much time upside down it would lose prime... and a crew member would have to climb back in there and restart it.   Think about that the next time you have engine trouble.  Try starting an unprimed diesel motor while being tossed around by 60 foot waves.   

They were told to take this little boat out into the those seas... and find a 500 foot tanker that had broken in half... and save the men on it.   With nothing but a compass.  Think about that.  The Sea had broken 2 500 foot long tankers in half.   And they were told to take this little wood boat out there and try to save those sailors.   Honestly I have to believe the commanders gave the orders in jest assuming the men of the CG-36500 would have sense enough to get lost out there and find their way back safe in a few hours. 

If you were to ask me what my favorite branch of the military is...  I'd think of the Air Force and the A-10.. and the F-18s...  and all the cool toys...  and I'd think of the Navy and the even cooler toys... and the Marines.   And I would think of the Army...  the traditions of West Point... the history and accomplishment and valor...  

Then I'd answer you;

The Coast Guard.



28 comments:

Josh said...

damn good post

Stg58/Animal Mother said...

The Coast Guard is a great bunch of guys. Never met a bad coastie. And they can drink.

Josh said...

Did anyone else like that Guardian movie about the coast guard rescue swimmers?

Stg58/Animal Mother said...

Couldn't handle it. Too much Kevin Costner.

Clint said...

Excellent Post. Like you guys, never met a bad Coastie. And yes, I powered through the Costner/Kutcher movie, and it was good, in spite of those guys. Not even they were able to hurt the Coast Guard.

Salt said...

Tanker design has come a ways since. Breaking a 500' tanker, two waves with the proper period, holding it by its ends... Oh snap! Essentially, I understand, similar to what a Mark IV torpedo does; blows the water out from underneath, two ends supported... Oh snap!

I've seen video of a CG rescue boat in Peugeot Sound (IIRC), riding the waves at 'the bar' and being rolled over, and over, and over. Amazing design.

40-60' waves are deadly, especially if the measurement is by std procedure - measurement above and below the midline - not crest to trough, which, if you ask most people, is what they actually think of.

I once sailed Bermuda to St. Thomas (36'er), left a few days after a hurricane had passed. Another boat, a 56' all wood, had left 2, or was it 3, days before us. We were downwind the whole way, estimating average crest to trough at ~30' (probably 12-18') in nicely organized following seas. You could look back and above at the crest, see the trough ahead. We surfed, hitting 11kt on the meter a few times. (hull speed was like 6.5kt) No problem; caveat - don't fuck up! That lasted for the first 3-4 days, then it all settled down and we cruised in the usual 5-8' seas, still downwind. The auto-pilot worked like a charm. The SatNav crapped out. No worries... chart, compass, and sextant.

Our friends who had left earlier than us were not so lucky. Husband, wife, baby, and the husband's sister. Sis was coming out the companionway and the skipper, at the helm, saw her face go white with a look of horror. It was some wave! Huge! A term some apply to such is 'rogue'. It crashed down on them, pouring through the open companionway and filling the boat up to (memory here) ~1/4, ripping out a few lifeline stanchions, and springing a few hull planks. Luckily the water level inside was not quite enough to kill the diesel. Pumps on, including the hand pump which pumps ~1gal/full-cycle-stroke. Tired arms. They spent maybe 2 months in the boatyard.

The baby slept through it all.



Nate said...

Salt... have you considered chartering? I bet the Ilk could keep ya busy.

Clint said...

Yeah, Salt. Charter. Nate will pay for us all.

Guitar Man said...

I'm with Clint, Salt.

Nate said...

hey I happen to know of an ilk family looking for passage to Hondurus... just sayin'

WaterBoy said...

Good post, Nate.

The Coast Guard is also the only branch without its own national museum, too. So much history in search of a home, though it's under development.

Susan said...

Good post Nate. Having known many of both Marine and CG persuasion, I would say that the CG to my mind are the Marines of the ocean. They never say retreat, they give it their all. Like the Marines.

I do not think the CG gets enough respect. Our liquid borders would be so much worse off without their tireless efforts.

Bill said...

If you get some time, ya'll should read the actual account of The Wolf of Wall Street. That guy had a CRAZY life. The best story, IMHO, was the ship incident. If you saw the movie, they seriously downplayed what actually happened to the guy and his boat. It's a really interesting story.

The scene from the movie:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dGDnnT8rD6I

The real story:
http://www.yachtsinternational.com/lifestyle/lifestyle-special-features/mayday-in-the-med/
CTRL-f down to this:
“Around six p.m. we were clocking the winds at sixty to seventy knots"

Raggededge said...

Here's what one reviewer said:

Bland, family-friendly entertainment that was once a Hollywood standard.

As opposed to Fifty Shades of Grey, I guess.

Nate said...

"Bland, family-friendly entertainment that was once a Hollywood standard. "

OH NO! NO GAY SEX! BOOOORRRRRRIIIIIIIIIIINNG!

Bill said...

A friend of mine was in the Coast Guard, and a bunch of us old military types were sitting around one time recalling our misadventures, and it turns out the coasty had, by far, sent the most rounds downrange in anger. 15 years of drug interdiction will, apparently, do that.

Clint said...

Honduras does not allow for personal firearm ownership, I think.

cheddarman said...

Excellent post, Nate.

cheddarman said...

Stg58/animal mother,

Just wanted to say your dad was a hero. I used to read him years ago

John Williams said...

hey I happen to know of an ilk family looking for passage to Hondurus... just sayin'

Have you figured out how many Ilk are required to take over Hondo?

Bill said...

Have you figured out how many Ilk are required to take over Hondo?

Seven.

Nate said...

7... depends on which 7.

Res Ipsa said...

I've been to Honduras. I spent time in Olancho province back in the day. Good folks. Pretty girls. OK beer. My brother even meet his wife there. If you take it over let me know, I'll buy the first round at Foster and Vivian's on Rotan.

Salt said...

No chartering for me. Pain in the butt, licensing requirements... to much bullshit. Besides, the boat isn't one for chartering. Now, racing... that would be another thing. It's a 1988 Frers design, and still a ferrari.

I have a good friend in Culebra, charter boat, ~60' all wood schooner. Russamee is a sweet ride.

The skipper is Mike Brown. https://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=1106932396&fref=ts He doesn't hang at VP at all, but he's an Ilk type. His Charter page is https://www.facebook.com/Schooner.Russamee/?fref=ts

Now if some Ilk ever wanted to bareboat charter, we could do that. Did that with a few friends in Belize. The boat was okay. Nothing to write home about. I'd have to get a copy of my cert. Charterboat companies want it for insurance/liability.

WaterBoy said...

Nate: "I'd think of the Air Force and the A-10.. and the F-18s..."

Oops, don't know how I missed this earlier...but you probably meant the F-16s? The F/A-18 is flown by the Navy and Marines.

Michael Maier said...

Josh.... If I ever meet you in person... I must kick you most heartily in the balls for mentioning that shitty film.

Twice.

Nate said...

yeah the 18 replaced the Tomcat... should've remembered that. I probably should've said f22s but I just haven't warmed up to the Raptor yet.

WaterBoy said...

The Thunderbirds are still flying the F-16 and is probably the most prominent public image of the USAF, as well as being the most numerous in their inventory by far.

The Raptor just doesn't have the same exposure; the only other one that might is the F-117, and that's only because of the Gulf War.