Category: Articles (page 1 of 2)

Captain W. Russell Webster is a maritime historian and author who has composed numerous articles, some of which appear below:

Now and Then

An essay about my year back at CGA Forty-five years after graduating in the Class of 1977, I returned to New London in August 2022 to teach for a year. During our class’s monthly virtual meeting, my classmates were curious if anything on campus had changed. The best I could say was, ‘everything is the […]

Bernard “Bernie” Webber and the greatest smallboat rescue in Coast Guard history

To this day, Webber’s crew is referred to as the “Gold Medal Crew” involved in the greatest small boat rescue in Coast Guard history.

The Long Blue Line: The loss of Morning Dew and genesis of Rescue 21

This article recounts the 1997 Morning Dew sailing vessel tragedy in Charleston Harbor, highlighting U.S. Coast Guard communication failures. It discusses the subsequent overhaul with the Rescue 21 system, addressing technological and procedural shortcomings.

Mariner, Leader, Friend Jack Downey Crosses The Bar

Having come to the aid of more than 700 mariners in his 41-year career in the U.S. Coast Guard, Jack Downey is being remembered locally as the one who rescued an entire Coast Guard station when it was foundering.

Getting The Chatham Bar Rescue Equation Right

The town of Chatham and the Coast Guard have been at odds since the Coast Guard downgraded Station Chatham’s surf station designation and discontinued using two 42-foot nearshore surf boats on Jan. 5. Why the change? The Coast Guard’s own data revealed that surf conditions didn’t meet the criteria for Station Chatham to remain specially-designated […]

Maine Voices: New technology brings families of lost mariners closer to closure

For the families involved in sea tragedies, emotional closure is often facilitated by something tangible, such as the recovery of a beloved’s body. For many, though, the sea does not give up the bodies of loved ones for their families and friends to mourn in ceremonies.

Reuniting Lost Mariners with Loved Ones

It’s rare that historians uncover something of true and unique value to the modern day persons they write about.  But, recently, thanks to Mrs. Ellen (Hokanson) Ouellette, ex-wife and mother of lost fishermen, Hokey Hokanson and Billy Hokanson, I am able to share some of the details of a Department of Justice program, NAMUS, that […]

Coast Guard Dogs Fight Terrorism

Specially trained canine units patrolling busy U.S. ports are some of the Coast Guard’s newest weapons in the 21st-century war on terrorism. Each year, U.S. ports host thousands of foreign-flag ships carrying multinational crews and cargoes from around the globe. Former Coast Guard Commandant Admiral James Loy noted that the 11 September 2001 attacks could have occurred at maritime facilities.

Coast Guard Tape of Harrowing 1980 Rescue off Massachusetts Resurfaces

Even a quarter century later, Anthony Militello, 50, skipper of the ill-fated fishing vessel Hattie Rose, can still feel the numbing cold of 32-degree water. “Some of the most vivid memories [of the rescue] are like snapshots in a photo album,” he says.

Madaket Millie to the rescue!

Madaket Millie to the rescue! USNIP 2004. The author discusses Mildred Jewett’s significance as a 50+ year volunteer for the US Coast Guard Auxiliary during wars, storms and normal island life. The article was written with the assistance of Mr. Fred Rogers aka “Mr. Rogers,” who corresponded with the author and provided invaluable perspective including an episode of his show that featured Millie. Rogers and Millie were lifelong friends.

Anti-terrorist Strategic Planning Must Include History Lessons

Anti-terrorist Strategic Planning Must Include History’s Lessons. USCG Alumni Bulletin April 2003. The author describes the state of the Coast Guard’s history program and offers suggestions to better integrate history’s lessons into modern planning.

Enlist the public in maritime homeland security

Enlist the public in maritime homeland security. The author discusses how the average citizen can make a difference in the war on terror.

The Pendelton Rescue

USNIP. December 2001.

Too Tired to Tell?

Too Tired To Tell. The author discusses real-world challenges to effective Search and Rescue decision-making by critical personnel in rescue centers precipitated by fatigue driven by too few numbers and 24 hour watch shifts.

The next disaster : Ready to respond?

United States Naval Institute. Proceedings – Annapolis If a large commercial airplane plummeted into the sea today, would your agency be prepared to respond effectively, efficiently, and compassionately? It can be if you follow the prior planning and lessons learned from the New England Coast Guard commands that directed major portions of at-sea operations during […]

Solving the Mysteries of Sunken Coast Guard Treasures

Solving the Mysteries of Sunken US Coast Guard Treasures. The author discusses the hunt for Revenue Cutter Bear off Boston.

Lightship Crew Remembered

Lightship Crew Remembered. The author befriends the sole survivor from LV-73 which sunk in the Great Hurricane of the Atlantic and describes life on lightships.

Lost and nearly forgotten

In 1944, the Coast Guard lightship Vineyard sank to the bottom off Sow & Pig’s Reef in Massachusetts . Were it not for the efforts of one of her crewmen, her story would still rest with her.

Working together to free whales

Working together to free whales. The author discusses a groundbreaking partnership between the Coast Guard and Cape Cod’s Center for Coastal Studies to track and disentangle scarce whales and offers long term possibilities for laws and funding for the mission.

Hell-Roaring Mike’s a Hero

Hell-Roarin Mike’s A Hero! July 1999, USNIP. The Coast Guard’s first African American skipper was “the law” in Alaska. He was also a brutal leader and an alcoholic. But, without his skills and perseverance, many would have perished.

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