Life Lines August 2021


Photo Credit: U.S. C.G. USCGC Eagle (WIX 327), “America’s Tall Ship,” arrives in Reykjavik, Iceland, on June 9, 2021.

Publications Now Available as Print-on-Demand

The two books that the USLSSHA produced are now available by print-on-demand at Search for either “They Had to Go Out” or “Rescue: The Stories of the U.S. Life-Saving Service” edited by John Galluzzo. If you have not added these two books to your library here is your chance to do so.


Chronology of Coast Guard History

If you were looking for a link to a chronology of Coast Guard History here is that link.

USLSSHA Webmaster Co-Chair(s) Positions Available


The U.S. Life-Saving Service Heritage Association (USLSSHA) is in search of an individual(s) that would be interested in serving the USLSSHA regarding website maintenance. The primary responsibility of this position is to work with the current chairman and be responsible for physical weekly or monthly updates to the web site.

It is our hope that the individual selected would be able to use WordPress backend dashboard to perform monthly updates, make changes on the site including designing and adding new pages. Individual must also be familiar with how to add and use various WordPress plugins to the site.

As co-chair you will work on, plan for, research and advise the Board of needs and potential enhancements to our digital footprint. You would be working with the current Chair who is looking for some additional assistance with the task.

From the technical side, our website is WordPress and we also currently utilize Stripe and PayPal for payment processing. We use MailJet and a few others as accessories to the site.

We hope that one or more individuals will contact us who are willing to support the mission of the USLSSHA with the experience and interest to help us advance and help grow our organization’s image.

To investigate this opportunity and get additional information, please reach out to the Committee Chair either through the website or directly at the following email [email protected] for more information.


Wallops Beach Station Again Looking for a New Home

Photo Credit: NASA

This call will stay in Life Lines each month until we determine that the structures have been saved or time has run out and they have been demolished.  If you can help please do so now.

The Wallops Beach Station in Virginia needs someone willing to take and move the structures from the NASA Wallops Flight Facility.  Both the station and the tower could be yours.  NASA will demolish the structure in 2021 to reduce their mandated allotted square footage, but there is still time.  If someone is interested in moving these structures please contact:

Steve Taylor
Realty Specialist
NASA Wallops Flight Facility
Bldg N-161, Rm 135
Work:  757-824-1194
Cell:  503-317-0073


U.S. Coast Guard Academy Honors First African American Graduate

Photo Credit: U.S. Coast Guard Academy. Photo by Petty Officer 3rd Class Matthew Abban

The U.S. Coast Guard Academy held the funeral of retired Coast Guard Cmdr. Merle Smith, July 9, 2021. In 1966, Smith was the first African American cadet to graduate from the Academy.

Smith entered the Coast Guard Academy in 1962, playing football for the school as a defensive end. He graduated with a degree in marine engineering in 1966. Smith went on to serve in the Vietnam War, where he rose to command the cutters Point Mast and Point Ellis, becoming the first Black officer to command a U.S. warship in close quarters combat. He was honored with a Bronze Star for his service in Vietnam.

After the war, Smith attended law school at George Washington University and taught law at the Coast Guard Academy, as well as coaching the football team. He remained in active-duty service until 1979 and remained with the Coast Guard Reserves for another nine years. In later years, Smith was part of the legal team at Electric Boat, one of the first Black general counsels for a Fortune 500 company.


USCG Provides Security, Supports Water Safety at Stanley Cup Boat Parade

Photo Credit: U.S.C.G.

A crew from Coast Guard Station St. Petersburg on a 29-foot Response Boat – Small II conducts a patrol for Tampa Bay Lightning’s Stanley Cup Championship Boat Parade, Tampa, Florida, July 12, 2021.

Hull Lifesaving Museum Harbor Illumination

Photo Credit: Hull Lifesaving Museum Webpage

It happens only one night a year…the magical Harbor Illumination. This year it was held on July 31st.

Traditional flares lit up the bayside shores.  There was a Coast Guard Commemoration at the Hull Cemetery with tours and music at the Hull Lifesaving Museum.  Harbor Illumination occurred at 8:30 pm.  Mark your calendar and attend in 2022 if you can.


Happy Birthday to the U.S. Coast Guard

SOUTH COAST — The U.S. Coast Guard is the oldest continuous seagoing service in the United States.

Coast Guard Day is celebrated on Aug. 4 because that is when the service was established back in 1790.

“(That is) when George Washington signed the Tariff Act,” said Commander Michael Baird of Sector North Bend. “… That authorized the construction of 10 revenue cutters and the personnel to man them. The whole point was the fledgling nation needed an influx of money, so the revenue cutters were there to prevent smuggling and other illegal activities to make sure the country was getting what it was owed.”

The U.S. Coast Guard, as it is known today, wasn’t created until 1915 when the Revenue Cutter Service and the U.S. Lifesaving Service merged.

“The merge created the U.S. Coast Guard,” Baird said, adding that the Coast Guard was then merged with the Lighthouse Service in 1939 and the Commerce Department’s Bureau of Marine Navigation in 1946.

Because the Coast Guard comprises so many other services, Baird said it is the reason for the Coast Guard’s 11 statutory missions.

“We don’t do just one thing,” he said.

Those 11 missions are: Port and Waterway Security, Drug Interdiction, Aids to Navigation, Search and Rescue, Living-Marine Resources, Marine Safety, Defense Readiness, Migrant Interdiction, Marine Environmental Protection, Ice Operations, and Law Enforcement.

In addition, Baird said the Coast Guard has been part of every major conflict that the U.S. has fought.

“We’ve had people serve in every major war,” he said. “We’re at all times a military service. We’re part of the Department of Homeland Security to help us maintain our law enforcement aspects.”

Specific to the Oregon Coast, Sector North Bend was officially established in 2013. Prior to that it was Group North Bend, established in 1968.

“(But) when you look at North Bend’s Area of Operation, you can trace Coast Guard roots to 1870 with the Cape Blanco Lighthouse and 1878 with the first Lifeboat station (which) was established in Coos Bay,” Baird said. “We changed to a sector because in order to better conduct our missions, we transitioned from groups to air sectors. A lot of titles changed over the years, but our presence and primary mission hasn’t changed too much.”

Click the link if you would like to download a celebration of the history of the USCG.


North Carolina is the Next Virtual/Small Group 2021 Annual Conference

Oak Island Life Saving Station

Photo courtesy of web magazine story Island Life NC

“The Historic Wilmington Foundation, Old Baldy Foundation, and North Carolina Maritime Museum at Southport are excited to host the 2021 USLSSHA Conference on September 23 – 25, 2021 exploring USLSS History in Southeastern North Carolina. This year’s conference is a hybrid conference featuring in-person experiences coupled with virtual programs offered each day via Zoom, including a hybrid USLSSHA Annual Meeting on September 25th.
The conference’s first day will focus on the Oak Island Life-Saving Station and modern Oak Island Coast Guard Station, including a visit to the graves of former keepers and surfmen. On the second day, the conference will focus on the Cape Fear Life-Saving Station on Bald Head Island. The final day will focus on the Life-Saving Stations around Cape Lookout and Fort Macon.
Currently, 15 rooms are reserved for the USLSSHA at the Hampton Inn by Hilton Downtown Wilmington for a special group rate of $169. In-person attendees are encouraged to reserve rooms by calling 910-251-3930. If enough individuals express interest in attending the conference in person, shuttle transportation will be included. Lunches for each of the three conference days will be included, and a Saturday evening reception near the hotel is being planned. The zoom link for virtual attendees will be shared at a future date.”
Mark your calendars for the 2021 Conference, Southport, North Carolina on September 23-25, 2021.
Those interested in attending in person please send your notice to Travis Gilbert [email protected]  Three people have already indicated their interest in attending in person with Travis.

If you have a story to submit for the next Life Lines please contact us through our website.