When the Dickman arrived at San Francisco, I was transferred. Told to report to the C G Base , for further assignment. My next assignment was on a 56 ft Patrol Boat, working in San Francisco Bay. We tied up at Fishermans Wharf, which is a Famous tourist attraction, then patrolled, from the Golden Gate Bridge, to Alcatraz, then to the Wharf. We had a three man crew and stayed on the boat for 24 hrs., then had 24 off. Were in Radio Contact with the Base and they would call us for special assignments. Like the day, a lady decided to jump from off the Golden Gate Bridge and we joined in a search party. One of the boats found her body, was a mess. We had two Jumpers while was on this tour, must be a Thing To Do. I read there have been 1558 Jumpers, since the bridge opened in 1937.
On another occasion had a call, that a prisoner had escaped from Alcatraz and to be on the Lookout. Seems the Army Post at the Presidio, sent clothes to be washed by the Prisoners on Alcatraz. A prisoner stole a uniform and mingled with the troops sent on a boat, to pick up the clothes. The Sergeant in charge noted he had a stranger in his detail and apprehended the prisoner.
Were on patrol one evening and had a call from the Base. Someone had reported an Oil Pot loose in the Bay, near Alcatraz, so we went on a search. . Ships use these large containers, to discharge their waste Oil, while in the harbor. We located it, floating near Alcatraz, it was loaded and just about all of it was under water. We tied a line to it but could not handle all that weight, so we called for a Tug. The Pot was drifting towards Alcatraz and I didn’t feel comfortable running too close. because there were signs on the Island that read, ” Anyone Approaching This Reservation, Does So At Their Own Peril” . We turned on our lights to illuminate our Identification and waited for the Tug.
It was Aug.15, 1945 and I was downtown in Frisco, checking out Market St. Walked into a USO to listen to the news, because it was reported the war in the Pacific was about to end. Had a date that evening, with a student nurse and had time to kill, so went to a movie. When I exited the theater, all hell had broke loose on Market St. The War had ended and people were celebrating, if you call destroying property and looting stores Celebrating. Saw one group break in a Liquor Store window and clean it out within minutes. Saw people carrying all kinds of stuff out of stores. Never saw a policeman. Nothing was running on Market St. If a trolley started to move, someone would pull down that third rail. I found my way to a side street and a trolly that was running and made it to St. Francis Hospital. The girls heard what was going on down on Market St. and wanted to join the fun. but fortunately those in charge decreed a Lock Down and the ladies had to entertain their dates in the student lounge.
The Celebrating went on down on Market St. for a second day and according to the news, was about to go on for a third, when the Mayor called the District Navy Commandant for help.Damage was reported at 65 Million. Most of those doing damage were Military people. He massed about 100 Shore Patrol and a dozen trucks and sent then down on one end of Market St. They all paraded up Market St and when they saw any Military Person, was told to Immediately return to their Ship or Base. and if they didn’t, they would be picked up bodily and thrown into the trucks. That ended the Celebration.
While out on patrol, saw the Dickman heading out to sea and we rode over and waved at the crew. I’m sure they were a happy bunch, because they were scheduled to participate in a landing on the Japanese mainland. I know there are many different opinions about dropping The Bomb. but one thing I am sure of, It Saved a Lot of Lives.
I heard my Ole Skipper was now in charge of the Philadelphia C.G. District. so I wrote and asked if he could get me transferred back to the East Coast, since I planned to make the Coast Guard a career. In a very few days my transfer arrived and I was on my way back East, and by Pullman First Class. When I arrived at the Philadelphia Base, was assigned to an 83 Footer working out of Port Richmond. Was nice duty and nice guys in the crew. Had a Chief BM in charge and I was Second. We didn’t have a cook and the crew were all Lousy Cooks. Each night when we took the garbage can to the Dumpster on the Dock, it was full. Then one day a Filipino Mess Attendant showed up, asking for the Chief. The fellow had 30 years of service and was sent to us on Temporary Assignment . He came aboard and checked out the galley, then said I Cook, but wash no pots,pans or dishes. Was no problem for us, we would clean up if he cooked. Turned out the guy was like a Magician , we ate like Kings. If we had something one day, might have it again on the next but no one knew it. He baked bread, pies cookies and all with no effort. and when came time to take the trash to the Dock, was very little in the Garbage Can. Then the Sad Day arrived, his transfer came through and we had to return to eating what we cooked. Our assignments were varied, we had to Patrol the Schuylkill River and the Port of Philadelphia. Had an interesting assignment, was told to report to the Delaware Bay , to arrive at a certain buoy and wait for a Submarine to appear and do whatever they asked. We reported and waited, saw nothing till out of the water comes this Sub. and called us over. Gave us a paper which read , they were the SS 222, had on board 3 engineers and the regular crew. and were going to do some Test Dives and we were to keep boats out of that area. Also said in case of emergency a yellow flare would come up and we were to immediately inform Groton Conn Sub. Base, .that they were in trouble. A red flare would also come up. along with a box containing a phone, so we could talk to those below. After an uneventful couple hours, the sub came up and headed out to sea, all the while sending messages with the light. We followed and I kept repeating IMI , trying to get them to slow down. since we didn’t have a Signalman aboard. I could copy the light but not at the speed they were sending. Finally they slowed down and I read, that they were thanking us for our help, and dismissing us.. We then returned to Port Richmond.
Then April 15, 1946 arrived and was time for me to reenlist. Unfortunately my Dad became sick and Mother needed me at home, so that ended my career in the U.S. Coast Guard,