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January 30, 2007

Comments

matthew husler

I was a non-rate on her right out of boot camp in may 95 to may 97. We sailed many long patrols over the two years, stoping at the great Dutch Harbor for Mid-patrol break every time. Including an arctic patrol about the 60th parallel for 21 days straight, boy did we get out butts kicked in the 35 to 45 foot waves. She is the best and will never be forgotten. Take care of our "Galloping Ghost of the Alaskan Coast".

John Van Zweden

This is in regard to Cornelius (Case) Van Zweden who served in the Coast Guard from August 18, 1942 to January 1946. Case passed away on August 18, 1987 in Grand Rapids, Michigan. I am his son, John and after learning that the U.S. Coast Guard Cutter Storis is scheduled to be decommissioned on February 8, 2007 in Kodiak, Alaska, I thought I would pass on some Storis stories on Case’s behalf.

After boot camp, Case was assigned to the Storis in Toledo, Ohio where the ship had just been built. He was part of the crew that took the ship out the St. Lawrence Seaway to the Atlantic Ocean. The ship departed from Toledo on October 24, 1942. He was with the ship until they completed repairing fire damage it suffered out at sea one evening in October 1944. The repairs were made at the Navy Yard in Kittery, Maine. After that he worked in the Coast Guard architectural drafting office in Boston from January 1945 to January 1946. The following is a letter he wrote to the editor of a church newsletter (“Flashes”) published March 1945, in Fremont, MI, which was the town of his residence at that time.

“At the time I received the copy of the “Flashes” last August (1944), I was in the land where sunshine is visible twenty-four hours a day. Although it is a lonely and desolate country, there were a few interesting features of the trip. The rocky mountains and glacial ice offer magnificent scenery from the ship as we sailed through the fjords. There is no need to write about our military mission in that far north country since it has received considerable publicity in the newspapers of late. Our military mission seems to have been successful since it is believed that the last German on that far north coast of Greenland has been captured. We carried German prisoners aboard ship for two months. In our sturdy Coast Guard Cutter (the Storis), it is nature’s elements that require as much concern as man-made enemies. She will plow through ice as thick as Fremont Lake (located in Michigan) could produce. The raging ocean storms seem to cause her little strain, although they affect rolling as much as fifty-seven degrees. The most dreaded of nature’s elements came upon us suddenly one evening last October (1944), when fire broke out and gave us a two-hour fight to extinguish.”

Case also sent the “Flashes” newsletter an envelope that had the following stamped across it: “This letter was delivered by a U.S. Army Plane north of latitude 75N, 16 August 1944 marking what is believed to be the northernmost record for delivery of U.S. Mail by air.”

The following is a Commendation Case received from the United States Atlantic Fleet; Flagship of the Commander in Chief dated 1 April 1945:

“The Commander in Chief, United States Atlantic Fleet, takes great pleasure in commending

CORNELIUS VAN ZWEDEN
CARPENTER’S MATE FIRST CLASS
UNITED STATES COAST GUARD RESERVE

for services as set forth in the following

CITATION:

For outstanding devotion to duty and personal bravery as a member of the fire-fighting party of a Coast Guard Cutter serving in the Greenland Patrol of the United States Atlantic Fleet.

Cornelius Van Zweden’s untiring efforts under extremely hazardous conditions contributed materially to the saving of the endangered ship from loss by fire. In spite of high seas and winds of gale force, excessive heat, and noxious smoke which rendered fire-fighting exceedingly dangerous and difficult Van Zweden went below decks into the fired compartments and assisted in bringing the raging fires under control. Through the effective and coordinated efforts of the entire fire party, the fire, which at one time seemed beyond control, was extinguished and the ship saved from total loss.

Cornelius Van Zweden’s heroic performance of duty in preventing the destruction of his ship by fire was in keeping with the highest traditions of the United States Naval Service.”

A copy of this citation is to be made a part of the service record of Cornelus Van Zweden and he is hereby authorized to wear the Commendation Ribbon.

JONAS H. INGRAM”


I remember Case telling me that when this fire occurred on the Storis they were towing a disabled ship. The fire was a result of a movie projector stalling while the projection lamp remained on. This caused the film to burn. Case believed that if the burning projector had been immediately thrown into the sea, the ship fire could have been avoided.

Jack Hawkins

KODIAK KOMBAT

By Jack Hawkins

A tale of Coast Guard chutzpah better than, but not as rare as a snowball fight in hell ........

During 1967 and 68 I was an SNRD then a RD3 aboard the CGC STORIS. This is a short remembrance of one of best crews I ever had the pleasure to serve with.

It was a quiet spring day in Kodiak. All three cutters where in port. STORIS and CONFIDENCE at the fuel pier and the CITRUS at the buoy dock. Old Women's Bay was flat calm and there had been a light snowfall the night before.

Now, you must remember that Kodiak was a Naval Base before the Coast Guard took over, and sometimes relations with the "Squids" and "Jar Heads" were not always the best. On more that one occasion the liberty section would be escorted back to the Cutter, with a Marine Guard truck in front and a Marine Guard truck behind, owing to a brief interservice discussion at the club. We won't even begin to talk about the Naval Base at ADAK, the night the STORIS crew wore the new Flat Hats (Donald Duck hats) ashore in "67".

It's afternoon on the STORIS quarterdeck, when this snowball thrown from the CONFIDENCE lands next the QMOW. WEEELL, this insult can not be tolerated, especially to the MIGHTY STORIS, so one snowball, is answered by two; two by four; four by eight; in absolute perfect numerical progression, until it seemed that both Ship's Crews are involved. (I swear, I saw the CONNIE's EO throw a snowball at his equal on the STORIS.)

Well, things are progressing quite well, when this Navy officer, leaves the CONNIE's Quarterdeck. Like Moses parting the Red Sea, the snowballs sail completely around him. He seems oblivious to the flurry of white stuff around him. 'Til it happens. (You know where we're going with this don't you?)

The Naval Officer had just passed the bow of the STORIS, (Port side to the West side of the pier. CONFIDENCE was starboard side to the East side.) The Officer's hat suddenly flew off his head. Then it just appeared that a cloud opened up and small private snow shower descended upon this hapless Naval Hero.

The new snow bank in the pier was unmoving for a short time, then it straightened, shook off the snow, and the Naval Hero reappeared. He looked around and there was NO ONE to be seen on either Cutter. Just two poor QMOW's trapped by their duty stations with their heads buried in logbooks. The Naval Hero, continued to shake the snow from his clothes, recovered his headgear and continued down the pier. He took several more steps, then turned, and saluted both Cutters with the Famous Fickle Middle Finger Salute, again turned and left the combat area.

Ah, it was good to alive in Kodiak that day!

That's My story and I'm sticking to it.

RM_Vet

NRUC NRUC DE NOJ NOJ 73 VA

Dit Dit Dit Dah Dit Dah

Tavis Hanson

TS3 on Storis 96-97.. Damn ship kicked my ass but still thought it was the best ship in the CG. Too bad they can't build anymore like her.

Allan Minaker

I was assigned to the Storis from boot camp in late fall of 1958 and was aboard for 1 1/2 years. We made a DEW Line resupply trip with Navy and supply ships. Great memories.

Mike Harjes

I was an MK3 on the buoy tender Citrus when we hit an uncharted rock while coming thru Ouzinkie Narrows and had to limp into and tie up at the dock in Ouzinkie. The Storis was the first cutter to tie up alongside and help with the patching and pumping. I and the other enlisted crew ate and slept on the Storis because our food stores and berthing were under water. I am proud to be able to claim the Storis as home for a week and a half.

Mike Harjes

-Edit-
Forgot to include a date. We hit the rock on 26Feb79.

Jim Stoffer

Attended the DECOM this past Thursday - 8 FEB. Wow, what a ceremony...outstanding. Hats off to CAPT McCauley and the fine crew. Brought back a lot of memories. Served aboard 1980-81. The STORIS is why I became a CUTTERMAN.

Captain Jim Cushman

Thunder Hog, Bull Dog of the Bering - the end of an era. A take a lickin, keep on tickin kinda cutter. Definitely gave the tax payers a great bang for their buck. How many times did STORIS and STORIS sailors get the mission accomplished when the 378s, et al were broken in Adak or Kodiak, or weathered in and taking shelter?? STORIS - "gone" but never forgotten!!

Monica

Hello,
I'm a writer with the Anchorage Press and I am hoping to talk to people who served aboard the Coast Guard Cutter Storis for a story I'm working on. I'd like to talk to anyone with some good stories to share, but specifically would like to talk to someone who was aboard during the earliest days of Storis' service, someone who was aboard during the trip through the Northwest Passage and someone who was aboard during the '64 earthquake. If anyone is interested in talking, please feel free to call me at 907-644-5411 or email your phone number to monicab@anchoragepress.com and I'll be happy to call you. I am getting close to deadline on this story, however, so I would need to hear from you no later than Monday, March 5, 2007. Thanks so much!

Bob Dick

I first crossed Storis' brow in July, 1967, as a brand new boot. One look at the lunatics working on deck caused me to wonder exactly why I volunteered to spend the next two years on this ship with the odd name. Several days later, we left on my first patrol and I began the metamorphosis into a Storis Sailor. I soon lost the boot camp shine and learned all about slushing the main boom, sooge work, mess cooking, watch standing and all that goes with becoming a seaman. I learned by watching folks like Merlin Smith, Tim Powell, Big John, Chief Hillman, Finch who kept us out of trouble long enough to learn the ropes. I made lifelong friendships with George Periman, Bob Marzen, and remember so many folks like my bunkmates Steve Derry,Bob Wilcox, Mike Usilton, Duane Kennedy are some names from the past. We got drunk, acted pretty stupid but hung together strong as glue when we were ashore. We had good officers like Cdr. Fear, Cdr. Hein(Hey, Mr. Hein, do you remember our (Mike Usilton and me)artwork on the fanatil? Your look was more effective than any lecture), Mr. Chapeau, Mr. Ganun, Mr. Martinez, Mr. Rudolph, to name a few. Captain Hardy was our best champion and looked the other way so many times when he probably should have kicked our butts (I can't believe he didn't notice the coke can and whiskey bottle collection on the ice alongside the ship one cold in-port morning). Not to mention all the sleepless nights he spent on the bridge making sure we lived to see another day.

For two years, I called Storis home and counted the days till I rotated back to "the world." When the day came to leave, however, I took the long walk down the fuel pier, looked back at the Sto and knew I had traversed a time that I would treasure for the rest of my life. So many experiences, good times, those times wondering if we would see the next day, the hard work, bitching about everything, justified or not, all aboard a ship as tough as we thought we were.

Storis is an anachronism today, put out to pasture as are many of us who grew up on her decks. She was and is a unique ship with a unique mission run by crews so proud to be a part of her history.

I sure hope she doesn't get relegated to the ship breakers. She deserves far better than that.

Here's to you, mighty Sto.

Skoal!

Bob Dick
SA/SN/BM-3
USCGC Storis, 66-68

SS2 Jeff Ellis

Just wanted to say goodbye to the Queen, I thought that it was a great tribute seeing her in the Guardian passing by in the snow,always there,always ready,thanks,Jeff.

YN2 Lewis S. Hirtzel III

was yn3 out of yn "a" school didnt do that great, heard was being sent to Kodiak, Ak on the cgc storis. only ship on the billet, thinking what was i getting into. it was tough to begin with but it was something i will never forget. the captain was CDR Freeborn. On duty from 1978 to 1980, sorry to see the old girl go. Sincerely YN2 Lewis S. Hirtzel III

BMC Tim Pridham, USCG Ret

I reported aboard Storis in May 87, when she was still in the shipyard at Portland, Or, for a 1 year overhaul. I was an SA out of Bootcamp. I can remember spending my first New Years at the Elbow Room in Dutch Hbr. What a time. The crew was great, and we had alot of good times, always going "10 knots, downhill". We griped and complained, like all sailors do, but I wouldn't trade those days for anything.

Chris Gaynor

The finest ship the Coast Guard ever had. And they made just one of that hull. Instead of duplicating the Storis, they built the 210 class, a top heavy POS.


Sailed on Storis in 87-88.

Chris Gaynor

The finest ship the Coast Guard ever had. And they made just one of that hull. Instead of duplicating the Storis, they built the 210 class, a top heavy POS.


Sailed on Storis in 87-88.

 Greg Sears

I served on the Storis from 1978 to 1980 as Subsistance Specialist 3rd Class. I circumnavigated the North Pacific and the Bearing Sea durring my time on the Storis. We spent two weeks in Hawai and another week in Tokyo Japan. The ship at that time had the mission of inforcing the new 200 mile fishing zone protecting our fish stocks. I was on the boarding party detail because of my extensive knowledge of types of fish and being able to identify them. We made one of the most significant seizures to date with the Kyo Maru a Korean fishing boat that had taken a large amount of Halibut from our waters. Our secondary but most important mission was to rescue any distressed fishing vessals. I was 18 years old when I first reported to the Storis and I was 20 years old when I left. I spent the entire time with the ship and did not return home until my tour was over. My time on the Storis brought me into manhood and taught me to respect tough living and conditions that mariners endure to make our lives better. I will always remember the great friends and shipmates aboard the Storis. I now run a charter fishing buisness called Mass Bay Guides in Massachusetts and I am involved still in the protection of our fishing stocks in the USA.
Captain Greg Sears
FV-FORTUNA

David Howard

I am posting this description written by my father Curtiss Howard who passed away in 1991, This account is about his assignment as an Ensign right out of training to the Cutter Storis - I believe this is 1943: "In August came new orders: ENS. CURTISS HOWARD REPORT FOR DUTY CGC STORIS TOLEDO SHIPBUILDING CO, TOLEDO, O. "CGC" meant Coast Guard Cutter - but STORIS? No-one had ever heard of her. Toledo? You can't get much further inland. Was I going to fight the war on the Great Lakes? Not if I could help it!
There she was, shining in the sun. Workmen crowding her decks, welding-sparks flying. New construction - that was why no-one had heard of her. Pale blue and white camouflage - a brand-new type of ship - built for, of all places, the Arctic. Two hundred thirty-five feet over-all. A high-stemmed bow, receding at the waterline to an underwater ram that would batter an ice-floe to pieces. Two 3-inch fifties, twin 20 mm's, depth charges, a forward-throwing anti-submarine mount. A tough little ship - not beautiful - but with an air of stubbornness, I liked her. My kind of ship! . . . I became communications officer, responsible for coding, radio, visual, and ship's own communications, in addition to two four-hour bridge watches per day. Our navigator Lt. Bill Rea shaped us "shoe clerks" sufficiently to stand watches under guidance and ultimately alone, In remarkably short time, eight officers and 90-odd men became the crew of a warship.
First day aboard I found one of the officers staring at me. "I know you," he said. "You're Curt Howard." He was John Young, whom I'd known slightly as a kid from another part of Hastings (NY) - now a raw Ensign like myself.
For upwards of a year in STORIS we escorted convoys - mostly back and forth from St. John's, Newfoundland, to Greenland, sometimes to a designated point called MOMP, (for Mid-Ocean Meeting-Point) off Iceland, where British escorts picked up our convoys. We lost only one freighter, which suddenly capsized in a gale - and most sadly, the beautiful little Coast Guard Cutter ESCANABA, which simply blew up - not 100 yards off our port bow - at 5 o' clock one quiet morning. We never knew what hit her. No sign of the enemy, though we searched like savages. Of her crew of 60 only one man survived. That lovely little 175 - footer - rising in two broken halves out of the sea in a froth of flame simply broke our hearts. Many of us wept . . .
Officially we were a unit of the Greenland Patrol - to keep the bad buys out of Greenland. The very first sight of Greenland overwhelmed me. From a distance at sea it rises like a giant fortress, the ice-cap gleaming in the sun, or cloud-capped. Our base at Narsarssuak, with its airstrip, occupied a vast glacial moraine at the end of a 40-mile fjord - frozen over in winter, towered over by 500-foot cliffs of solid rock, magnificent masses in rich color - rust, greens, grays, deep violetes - the very bones of the sub-continent. One of our chores was to break ice for the incoming freighters - a job we liked, using our tough little ship as a battering ram amidst all that gradeur. The ice-breaking made the ship resonate like agreat bell."

JOHN HOLLAND

I SERVED ON THE STORIS 1957-1959.
I WOULD LIKE TO BE ABLE TO GET SOME GEAR FOR REMEMBERANCES OF MY DUTY ONBOARD THE STORIS WHEN
I WAS 17 AND GREW UP FAST.
THANKS FOR YOUR HELP
JOHN

Charles E Graves

I served on the STORIS as an MK3 in 72 and 73.6 Months
in seattle ship yard and 1 year patroling the bearing sea off and on.The captian at the time let us take our motorcycles with us on board when we went to hawaii for underway training by the US NAVY.This was one of the best times of my life.We were asked to shoot our 3" mount[BIG GUN] at a target a mile away and get as close to it as posible.Well we hit it and I was told later it sunk!
Sorry to see you go old girl.

Byron Olson  USCG #383495

I was just out of boot camp, (Alameda, Calf) in July of 1969, and I spent the next eighteen months on board the Storis as we mostly patrolled Japanese, Korean and Russian fishing fleets in the Bearing Sea. We broke ice nearly to Pt. Barrow, Alaska, crossing the Arctic Circle and to the barren land at the last outpost of the Aleutian Chain, Attu Island, crossing the International Date Line, for the experience of initiation. I remember wild times in the dusty streets of Nome Alaska. I remember stopping in Homer and Seward on the way to Juneau Alaska. The Storis spent a few months in dry dock in Seattle Washington to patch a whole in the bow, (fresh water tank) suffered during ice breaking. Port of call in Ketchican on the way back to Kodiak Island. Mostly three to four weeks out at sea and returning for a week to resupply and make ready for the next patrol. The time on board taught a great respect for the forces of nature and a love for the sea.

Michael W. Lewis

I was doing some reminising today and noticed this site on the internet. I'm very sorry I did not have a chance to view it sooner. I served on the Storis from September 1967 to March 1969. I'll never forget the day I boarded her in Ketchikan after graduating from EM school at Groton, CN., needless to say I was a bit taken back by the guys as they returned from liberty in the early hours of the morning after hitting all the bars. Some of my fond memories of course are all the SAR missions we had plus the fisheries patrols. The Storis was involved in the SAR mission on the sinking of the Panoceanic Faith in October 1967 where many lost their lives. We made many trips along the Aluetians and one fond moment was a ships party we had at Dutch Harbor, totally abandoned at that time. Many of us took in the sights and tried to imagine what occurred during World War II at this location. We did make one trip up north to break some ice and visit the Priblof(sp) islands. I believe it was during that trip that the USS Pueblo was captured by Korea, that kept us on our toes for a few days. We did cross the International Date Line but not the circle, of course we all went through kissing the hairy belly! I used to love to go out on deck during high seas to watch the seas break across the bow, sounds crazy but what else was there to do in Alaska. I took many slide pictures while in Alaska and have always wanted to put them on a CD, maybe now is the time! I hope to hear from others that served while I was in Alaska so we can share our special moments. BYW I hated the 4-8 shift, a real killer!

Michael W. Lewis EM2
#371997

Larry Robison

I served aboard the Storis in 1969 - 1970 as a YN3. I have so many memories of the Storis and the crew I served with. I've tried many times to find out where different ones have gone with no luck and was quite surprised to find this on the internet. I can still remember all of the scientists on board, doing the polar profile we did. Man was that some crouded spaces. I still have a picture of the Russian Captain we had arrested for refueling in our waters and I also remember standing guard on a Japanese ship we arrested and took to court. Ialso played on the flag football team that we had at the time. The Storis was a wonderful time in my life, and I wish I could go back for a visit but I know I'd be disappointed not having any of my old shipmates there.

Russell W. Thresher III

I am Russell W. Thresher III and am writing about my Grandfather, Russell W. Thresher, who I believe was skipper of The Storis during WWII.

I was going through some belongings passed down to me when my father, also a WWII USCG veteran, passed away and found a newspaper clipping describing my Grandfather being awarded a medal for finding and destroying Nazi weather stations.

The incident to which Mr Van Zweden's father related to him was documented in a book about another cutter, The Eastwood which was on patrol with the Storis and Northwood. The book speaks of the Storis towing the ship in because it lost it's rudder.

My grandfather eventually was assigned to Juneau with the USCG and retired as a Captain. My grandmother never wanted to leave Juneau but they eventually retired in Miami where he passed away in 1974.

I would love to hear any stories or information from those that may have served with him.

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