a picture says more than a thousand words...
© 2016 Larry Stoffregen | Gallery of Memories by whs62.us
Every veteran is someone who, at one point in his life, wrote a blank check made "Payable to the United States of America for an amount of up to and including my life"
I volunteered for four year's service with the U.S. Coast Guard in September 1965. I went to boot-camp in Alameda, CA... a suburb of San Francisco. Upon graduation, I was assigned to duty aboard the cutter WLB 388 - Basswood, home-ported in Honolulu, Hawaii. During that time I made one WESTPAC and several shorter voyages throughout the Hawaiian archipelago. WESTPAC (Western Pacific) was a 4 month voyage to Yokosuka, Japan via The Marshal Islands, The Caroline Islands, The Northern Caroline Islands, Micronesia, Palau, Okinawa, and Taiwan. We made stops at Kwajalien, Eniwitok, and Bikini atolls... sites where most atomic bomb tests were conducted. Guam, Saipan and Tinian where I saw the loading pit where the first atomic bomb was loaded aboard the Anola Gay for her Hiroshima flight and Guam where we watched lines of B-52 bombers take off headed for their morning bomb runs to Viet Nam, just as B-29 bombers had made their bomb runs from there in an effort to end the war with Japan just over 20 years earlier. Koror and Okinawa where wrecked ships and equipment from WWII still littered the beaches and surf after only 20 years since the war. Places where General McArthur began his retaking of the Philippines and the sites of so many significant sea battles. I visited village ports where the whaling ships made their stops for provisions as well as traveling inside of pods of humpback, blue, and sperm whales and reliving "Moby Dick". I experienced typhoons with epic seas, seas so calm that one couldn't distinguish between the sea and the sky, as well as nights so clear you felt you could touch the stars.
In the June of 1967 I was stationed in Pago Pago, American Samoa aboard a 95 foot cutter, The Cape Providence where we provided Search And Rescue (SAR) support for the airlines going to and from Hawaii to Australia. Truly a dream island that most only read and dream about. Truly a beautiful people with an extraordinary outlook on life, who appear to be honored you are there to join them.
In the August of 1967 I reported aboard the WLB Buttonwood in Honolulu. During that time we made scientific trips to all of the remote islands of the Hawaiian chain out to Midway Island. We transported scientists from the Scripps Oceangraphic Institute , San Diego as well as from Wood Hole Oceangraphic Institute , Massachusetts and aided their research and tagging of wildlife and botany on these isolated, uninhabited bits of mountain tops protruding through the Pacific Ocean. It was during this tour that I met and married my wonderful wife of 49 years, Sally.
During the Spring of 1968 we were reassigned to Cape May Lifeboat Station at Cape May, N.J.. There I served as Coxswain of their fleet of patrol boats: 30' (both steel and Fiberglass models), 36', 40', and 44' boats. Our primary mission was providing SAR support for the Delaware Bay area, Intercoastal Waterways, and Atlantic coast areas. In addition, we provided personnel and provisioning support to the Coast Guard manned lighthouses on Delaware Bay (Brandywine Shoals Light, Fourteen Fathom Shoal Light, Miah Maull Shoal Light, Ship John Shoals Light, and Delaware Breakwater Light) as well as the same support for the Five Fathom Light ship located in the Atlantic at 15 miles from the Cape May Lighthouse. In addition, I served as Boarding officer for drug and law enforcement boardings. I did this until the end of my enlistment in September of 1969, as a BM2. During my stay there, I completed a painting for our CO's office. It was of a 44' sea rescue. That was the last "Coast Guard Art" that I've done until just last year.
Dedicated to the men and women who serve to make the USCG an icon of America.
ALL drawings found on this site are free to anyone wanting to use them.
Low resolution copies can be had by merely right clicking on the drawing and do a "copy" or "save as" function. This should suffice for home printers doing 8.5" x 11' prints. Just use a "photo" paper to print with.
If you're wanting to make larger prints or framable art prints/posters, then go to the DOWNLOADS page and follow the instructions you'll find there.
Any of these drawings can be fairly easily customized by just changing names, hull numbers, with/without racing stripes, etc. and I'll be happy to do so for you, if possible and time allows. I'll consider any requests for a unit I haven't done yet , but no promises. Just drop me a note to tell me what you have in mind and ask. The very worst that will happen is I'll say "no thanks"...
lstoff (at) inbox (dot) com
A great shipmate of mine, from my days on the USCG Cutter Basswood home ported at that time in Honolulu, C.D "Doc" Williams (our Medical Corpsman) has written a most remarkable book that takes you on the Basswood's WESTPAC cruise. The title is REALM OF THE GOLDEN DRAGON and is available here:
Realm of the Golden Dragon
The book is well written and truly conveys the pride and adventure that the US Coast Guard provided us as young men. I was most fortunate to be asked to provide the cover art for the book.
In hindsight, one wonders how such a small time frame in one's life can have such an impact, yet it does. I still correspond with many of my old shipmates and the memories and experiences we shared are still as stark and vivid as the day they occurred.....seems like only yesterday......
Larry Stoffregen BM2 and Eric Franko SA
Cape May Station 1969
Doc did an artical for the Coast Guard Combat Veterans Association 's publication about the Basswood's time in Vietnam in 1967. The article's title was "Then There Was The Buoy Tenders". Doc and the CVA have been kind enough to allow me to reproduce a copy of the article. CHECK IT OUT HERE
Honolulu, Hawaii 1965-66
American Samoa 1967
Honolulu, Hawaii 1967-68
Cape May Station
Cape May, New Jersey