The United States Coast Guard Cutter Taney (pronounced TAW-NEY) was the last Pearl Harbor attack ship on active duty service. Retired on Sept. 30, 1977---after 41 years of duty---this proud vessel is today a living museum, docked in Baltimore’s Inner Harbor at the foot of historic Federal Hill. Her director is my friend and fellow book author Paul Cora of Towson, MD.
It is fitting that this veteran vessel of one aerial assault should be permanently berthed in a harbor that was also bombarded---when the British Royal Navy attacked nearby Ft. McHenry in 1814.
Commissioned June 3, 1936 at the Philadelphia Navy Yard, the ship was named for former secretary of the Treasury and Supreme Court Chief Justice Roger B. Taney of Maryland, whose early law partner was Francis Scott Key, and who went on to pen the still controversial pre-American Civil War Dred Scott Decision.
Assigned to Hawaiian Territorial waters, the Taney was a high endurance cutter, 327 feet long, 41 feet in the beam, displacing 2,700 tons, with a draft of 12’ 6”. Her fuel capacity was 135,800 gallons and her fresh water capacity 24,950 gallons. A geared turbine engine with twin screws provided her main propulsion. Her top speed was 20 knots; her cruising range was 8,270 nautical miles.
During the spring of 1941---due to their value as escort vessels---the Taney and six other 327-foot class ships were transferred to the Navy Department. The remainder of the Coast Guard was placed under Naval authority just five weeks before Pearl Harbor.
The year 1990 marked the Bicentennial of the US Coast Guard, and the Taney was honored in the commemorative USCG publication with a special section entitled “Taney at Pearl Harbor,” and a painting of the cutter tied up at Pier Six in Honolulu Harbor. Summarizing the role played by the ship, the publication stated, “When the first Japanese aircraft appeared over the island of Oahu, the Taney’s crew observed the anti-aircraft fire over Pearl Harbor, went to general quarters, and prepared to get underway if necessary.
Just after 9 AM, the second wave of Japanese planes appeared, and the Taney fired on three formations of scattering enemy aircraft.
The main action was about 10 miles distant, and the Taney’s three-inch guns and a .50 caliber machineguns concentrated against the high altitude Japanese Kate bombers and Zero fighters. “The last formation of five enemy planes ventured the closest. The cutter opened fire with its guns when the planes came in range. There were no direct hits, but the Japanese fighters were forced to avoid the fire.”
Throughout World War II, the Taney saw service as an anti-submarine escort, protecting convoys in both the Pacific and the Mediterranean. In the final days of the conflict---during the Okinawa campaign---the cutter served as an Amphibious Force Flagship, and was assigned duty as the combat information center, maintaining radar coverage and receiving and evaluating information.
“Due to its exposed position in the fleet,” the Coast Guard Bicentennial publication stated, “the Taney actually experienced a disproportionate share of the fighting. The Taney defended the fleet from kamikaze/suicide (aerial) attacks, and shot down several of the planes.”
World War II was by no means the last conflict for the Taney. During the Korean War, she served as a support ship and in Vietnam gave gunfire support and participated in Operation Market Time, the Navy’s coastal blockade. In 1972, the Taney, then 36 years old and home-ported in Portsmouth, VA, was the primary vessel assigned to Ocean Weather Station Hotel, off the Atlantic Coast.
With a crew of 16 officers and 126 enlisted seamen, she performed offshore law enforcement, search and rescue interdiction, as well as training cruises for Coast Guard Academy cadets and officer candidates.
Few vessels could provide a better training ground---or a classroom as rich in nautical history!
Taney’s Own Pearl Harbor After Action Report, Dec. 30, 1941
“Commandant 14th Naval District Serial 01531 30 December 1941
“Japanese Raid on Pearl Harbor
“Forwards Reports of District Forces and Units covering operations during Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor and subsequent events.
“Coast Guard Cutter Taney Department United States Coast Guard
“At sea, North Pacific Ocean, 22 December 141
“From: Commanding Officer, Taney
“To: Commandant, 14th Naval District
“Subject: Taney; report of activities Dec. 7-20, 1941
“Reference: (a) Article 712, US Navy regulations.
“1) When anti-aircraft fire was first observed over Pearl Harbor on Dec. 7th, general quarters were sounded, and all officers not on board ordered to return. The anti-aircraft battery---as well as all other guns---were ready to fire with their full crew and three officers at their stations within four minutes. The remaining officers---with one exception---were aboard less than 10 minutes later.
“Steam was ordered and (the) vessel was ready to get underway. Without having received orders from any source, between 0901 and 0902 and between 0915 and 0918 opened fire on scattering formations of enemy aircraft at a high altitude passing over the harbor from west to east, using #4 and #5 3” guns. #3 gun did not bear, and machine guns were outranged. Long fuse settings were used, but fire failed to reach (the) planes.
“27 rounds of 3” shrapnel were fired in these attacks. At 1135, opened fire with 3” gun on a small formation of enemy planes which passed over the city from north to south and were almost overhead at (the) time of firing. One of these planes appeared to have dropped a bomb on Sand Island. No report was heard, but dust and smoke were observed. At 1158, a formation of five enemy planes approached the vessel directly from the south southwest over the harbor entrance on what appeared to be a glide bombing or strafing attack on this vessel or more probably a bombing attack on the power plant which is located north of (the) vessel’s berth at Pier 6, Honolulu.
“Fire was opened with #4 and #5 3” guns, and #3, #4, #%, and #6 .50/Cal. Machine guns after planes were in range. No direct hits by the 3” guns were definitely seen, but planes were rocked by the fire, and swerved up and away. Several 50/Cal. Tracers appeared to pierce (the) wing and tail structure of one plane. No bombs or machine gun bullets were received aboard, nor observed falling nearby.
“54 rounds of 3” shrapnel were expended, and about 250 rounds of .50/Cal. Ammunition. The only casualty was a delay in firing #4 gun due to the projectile being unseated from (the) cartridge. (The) cartridge was rammed home, breech closed, and gun fired. A fairly satisfactory volume of fire was obtained, but it was not as great as would have been desirable, due to interference with loading from splinter shielding at that particular angle of fire.
“A modification of the drill requiring an extra shell man was made, and eliminates this difficulty. This vessel had had no opportunity to fire anti-aircraft practice, although the difficulty would not have appeared and might not have been discovered at the angles of fire used in prescribed practices.
“The officers and crew bore themselves well, although most members of the crew had had no training except drill, and had never seen anything above a .50 caliber fired.
“2) Proceeded to sea at 0546, 8 December, and commenced patrol of vicinity of Honolulu Harbor entrance. On this patrol, made sound contact with submarines and dropped depth charges as listed below:
Position Time No. Dropped Result
About 3 miles SE of Ahoa Pt. 1230, Dec. 8 3 Unknown
1.2 miles 207 degrees 0200, Dec. 10 2 Unknown
from #1 buoy
3 miles 183 degrees
from Aloha Tower 2043, Dec.10 3 oil slick observed
4 miles 126 degrees
from #1 buoy 1703, Dec. 11 6 Unknown
4 miles 120 degrees
from #1 buoy 1702, Dec. 11 2 Unknown
2.7 miles 200 degrees
from Aloha Tower 1500, Dec. 13 3 Unknown
3.5 miles 206 degrees
from Aloha Tower 040, Dec. 14 5 Unknown
“3) Approaches were made in as close adherence to doctrine as possible. Visible results were disappointing, except in the case described in detail below. The following characteristics were common to most contacts:
“(a) True bearing changed little if at all after (the) vessel brought contact dead ahead. This might indicate a wake knuckle or a former depth charge disturbance, and in some cases, this was probably true, but it is believed in most cases it meant that (the) enemy was proceeding directly toward or away from (the) vessel. The approaches indicated this particularly in two cases where the range decreased very slowly in one case and very rapidly in another.
“(b) All contacts were made at short ranges---800 yards or less---indicating the possibility that the target was considerably smaller than submarines on which practice had been conducted when contacts of 1500-2000 yards had been made. With this type of contact, the probability of false contacts with wake knuckles and large fish is increased. One very large manta badly injured was observed at one time, and a slightly smaller one floating dead was observed later. These fish may have been accidentally injured or killed, but it is possible that they were actually targets for some attacks, not necessarily by this vessel.
“c) Difficulty was experienced in regaining contact after an attack. Search around the disturbed area of the first attack was usually useless, possibly because submarine had succeeded in getting out of effective range (less than 800 yards.)
“3) Description of three attacks follows:
“2045, 10 December, 1941. This contact developed shortly after tracer bullets over the vicinity of the harbor entrance were observed ahead, apparently aimed at a surface vessel, although none could be observed from this vessel. Sound contact was made on the starboard bow shortly there after, and (the) vessel made an approach beginning with a sharp turn to starboard to bring submarine ahead.
“Rate of change of range indicated that (the) submarine was running away. Completed approach, and dropped three charges with 100 yard spread. Immediately after attack, turned right and attempted to regain contact. Returning echo indicated possible contact almost dead ahead and in vicinity of our first turn. Signaled Ramsay patrolling with us and approaching that spot to search, but her search was without result.
“The wake knuckle of our first turn may’ve produced the second echo. A thorough sound search of vicinity failed to re-establish contact. A very strong odor of fuel oil was noticed aft after the attack and the turn down wind. For several hours, this odor was noticeable when passing this spot, diminishing toward morning. A definite oil slick persisted in this spot for two days. In smooth water, it was not observed after that time. On two separate days thereafter, with high winds and quite choppy seas, a clearly defined oil slick---50-100 yards in diameter---was observed ¾ mile-one mile to leeward.
“Since depth of (the) water was over 200 fathoms and under these wind conditions a current of one knot and a half develops here; it is possible that this slick might have come from (the) same source.
“1703, 11 December 1941. Dropped six charges using Y gun on an urgent approach at full speed on a sound contact made while a cruiser was leaving Pearl Harbor and within torpedo range.
“0940, 14 December 1941. Dropped five charges on an excellent contact with range closing fast from dead ahead. This was the best contact made, solid and definite, and all hands were convinced that results would be obtained, but no visible evidence of damage to (the) submarine was found. A careful search of (the) vicinity failed to re-establish contact.
“4) After considerable thought on this subject as a result of previous sound training practices, a study of the doctrine and the experiences of this period, a changed method of estimating an approach when contact develops at close range has been worked out, and will be submitted in a separate letter as a possible improvement.
Retiree Feedback: USCGC Taney Crewmember Remembers by CDR Willis G. Partridge, USCG (Ret.)
“My former shipmates and fellow retires…will recall the story of the USS Arizona as being the battleship sunk by the Japanese at Pearl Harbor, and which is still resting in the place she was sunk. The readers will recall (that) a memorial has been erected over the old hull, and (that) the ship serves as a tomb for many of the 1,l00 officers and men who lost their lives during the sneak attack.
“I served on the Taney on that date, and we, too, participated in the operations against the Japanese. In fact, Taney is the last ship still in commission that did engage the Japanese.
“I would like to share a story I became involved in between the Taney and Arizona in mid-1942. While Taney was in Pearl Harbor Navy Yard for a brief overhaul for installation of a new mast with radar antenna, I was ordered to report to the Signal Officer, a very new Ensign. At that time, I was a Signalman 2nd Class, and my orders
were something like this: ‘Partridge, we are receiving our new mast this afternoon and will be sailing the first thing in the morning; get your halyards rigged and ready for sea.’ I asked only one question: ‘Where am I going to get signal blocks at this late time?’ I was reminded to quit asking silly questions, and just carry out my orders. A short pause, then ‘Aye aye, Sir.’
“In company with my shipmate---Harry Kroger, Quartermaster First---I set out to ‘find’ a set of signal blocks. I discovered a barge loaded down with the tripod masts and fighting tops of the Arizona headed for the scrap heap. I checked with the civilian in charge, and he let me have about a dozen blocks, with sister hooks.
“Before the day was over, I had my assignment completed, and now the Taney was equipped with signal blocks from the Arizona. They were still there in 1943 when I left the3 ship and, and may’ve stayed on the ship for a good part of the war. In a very small way, I was always glad to say that I helped a small part of the Arizonato return to the fight against the Japanese as a part of the Taney. This was a good choice, because the Taney outlasted them all!
“I share with my fellow Coast Guardsmen who served on the Taney or any of the 327s a feeling of sadness to see them phased out of service. We also share a feeling of pride in the missions they accomplished, and were the best ships the Coast Guard ever built!”
“Thanks very much for saving our fannies!”
“From: SS Brown Victory
“To: CTG 51.21
“Naval Communication Service
“Taney shot down kamikazi just before it crashed into the Brown Victory.”
“The above message was posted on the mess deck of theTaney by the captain for all hands to see and read.. On May 26, 1945, the Taney and the other ships on the Okinawa area came under heavy air attack composed of Japanese kamikazi planes. One of Taney’s gun crew shot down a plane just when it was about to crash into the SS Brown Victory.
In appreciation, the captain of the Brown Victory sent the message: ‘Thanks very much for saving our fannies. Two days later---on May 28, 1945---we were again under heavy air attack, only this time, the SS Brown Victory was not quite so lucky. The Japanese scored a direct hit on her with one of their suicide planes. The Brown Victory was severely damaged and put out of action.”
The Saga of Soogee: Ship’s Mascot of US Coast Guard Cutter Taney Has Enviable Record (from 1946 "Coast Guard Magazine")
“The first SPAR in the service of the US Coast Guard was sworn in a little over nine years ago, when the trim white CG Cutter Taney first took station in Hawaiian waters.
“She is Soogee, a dog of undetermined origin, and very doubtful antecedents. Rumor has it that she was born in Australia, but that her adventurous spirit soon got the better of her, and she stowed away on a merchant vessel bound for the US. While making a liberty in Honolulu, she became intrigued with the possibility of greater excitement as a member of the crew of the Taney, and shortly thereafter was enlisted as an apprentice seaman.
“Her subsequent advancement on board the Taney was rapid. By virtue of her all-round excellence as sea dog, mascot, and general ship’s entertainer, she ultimately attained the rate of chief boatswain’s mate. It soon became apparent, however, that her rapid promotion had given her an exaggerated idea of her own importance, for she persistently refused to stand the dog wates. For this, the captain broke her to boatswain’s mate, first class, the rate she now holds.
“Soogee’s experiences have been many and varied. She has endeared herself to thousands in many ports throughout the world. She is as well known for her good behavior and queenly manner while ashore as she is for the sharp nips she invariably bestows on anyone who assaults her dignity. Soogee has never been known to drink, although she does not seem unwilling while on liberty to associate with many of her shipmates who do. In many cases, it has been due only to Soogee’s unerring ability to locate the Taney while ashore in a strange port that the cutter’s liberty parties have returned on time. Because of these qualities, her shipmates have come to regard her as the ‘Queen of the Seas.’
“She is none of your Johnny-come-lately ships’ dogs, ready and willing to take up and sail off with the first interesting character who offers her a bone. Soogee is true to the Taney, and treats all sailors from whatever other ships with lofty disdain.
“Soogee is known only once to have slipped from grace, It seems she became involved with a smooth talking Airedale in San Diego. He took advantage of Soogee’s innocence, and four puppies were the result. This event was regarded as a great piece of good fortune
by the crew, and was cause for much celebration. In appears to have been only a minor incident to Soogee, however, for she has not seen fit to duplicate the performance.
“It is well known that Taney will not sail so long as Soogee is ashore. For this reason, she is usually very prompt about returning to the ship after liberty has expired, and she seems to know instinctively when the Taney is ready to cast off the lines. On such occasions as Soogee is neglectful about returning, it is necessary to send ashore a party of her shipmates who go through the back alleys of the town, like beaters crying, ‘So-o-o-gee!’
“The procedure never fails to startle the natives, but it is invariably effective in locating Soogee, who can usually be seen, soon afterwards, coming down the wharf at a dog trot. At other times, Soogee may be found in some isolated location on shore surrounded by a group of canine admirers to whom she is busy telling sea stories. It is difficult to coax her away from an audience, but a couple of blasts on the ship’s siren usually serve to turn the trick.
“Since the SPARS have acquired official status, Soogee has given much thought to her place in their organization. Recalling her seniority because of her longer service, she feels that certain privileges should go with this condition. At the present time, she has adapted the SPARS’ bonnet for dress wear, but finds that certain other garments of their attire are unsuitable to her build. She has not fully made up her mind as to her relations with other SPARS, but is---for the time being---content to remain the only SPAR afloat.
“Soogee is a veteran of Pearl Harbor, the Atlantic, and the Mediterranean theaters of operation. She is now giving the Japs a worrisome time in the very center of hostilities in the Pacific. At the sound of the general alarm, she takes her battle station in the corner behind the general mess refrigerator, and she mans it valiantly until ‘secure’ is heard.
“She has had more than nine continuous years of sea duty, and has not had a shore job since the day she was shipped in on the Taney. She has become an able swimmer and diver, and takes great pride in ‘showing off’ at swimming parties. She will stay in the water for hours at a time, and is highly indignant when she is finally dragged aboard.
“She is the regular recipient of four fan mail letters a month. A SPAR in Boston writes her every week. She is never forgotten on Christmas, either, or on Mother’s Day. As she grows older, Soogee is less inclined to be tolerant of strangers, and of her shipmates who invariably provoke her by stealing her bones. She takes great delight in nipping the heels of ensigns and radiomen, a habit she acquired many years ago when she discovered how quickly they would retire at her threats.
“Soogee intends to obtain a pension after 20 years of service. She expects to save enough out of her pay to build herself a dog house on Diamond Head to which she will retire with her memories of ships and storms and of battles with Germans and Jap; and on very rare occasions to reflect, ‘I wonder whatever became of that Airedale…’”
Navy to convert Taney, Coast Guard Cutter, Here: The News and Courier, Charleston, SC, Dec. 16, 1945
“A recent arrival at the port of Charleston was the famous Coast Guard Cutter Taney, the first major Coast Guard vessel to taste battle in World War II…Returning to the Atlantic in the spring of 1944, it served as an escort vessel for trans-Atlantic convoys. Late in 1944, it was converted into a communications ship.
“On Jan. 18, 1945, the Taney sailed from the Boston Navy Yard to return to the Pacific Theater of War…It participated in the invasion of Okinawa. During the Battle for Ie Shima, its gun crews downed four Jap kamikazi planes. Returning to Buckner Bay, Okinawa, it took station as a staff ship, and remained there until the war ended.
“The Taney was to play one more important role before it sailed for home. On Sept. 11, 1945, it negotiated the minefields into Wakanoura Wan, Honshu, to be one of the first US combat vessels to enter Japanese home waters. There, it engaged in the evacuation of American prisoners of war.
“The Taney will be converted back to a peacetime Coast Guard cutter at the naval shipyard here.”
“If the Russians permit, a Big Birthday Party will be held in Alameda:”
Alameda County Weekender, May 14, 1966, by Sibley S. Morrill, Editor
“Next Friday…one of the most unusual celebrations ever held on the US) Pacific Coast will get underway at Alameda’s Government Island, on board the USCG cutter Taney---that is, OF the Russians will permit. How that happens to be the case is that for the past several days, the Taney has been segmenting that segment of the Russian fishing fleet that has been cruising about just off the Marin coast, and since the Taney is a demon for duty, it is quite possible the celebration will have to be delayed.
“…Of its former commanding officers, no less than 12 have attained the rank of admiral, five of them still being on active duty, including none other than Adm. Edwin J. Rolamd, USCG, Commandant of the Coast Guard, the nation’s oldest sea going service.
“…The motto of the Coast Guard---Semper Paratus/Aways Prepared---is well exemplified by the Taney. Her compliment of men is always prepared. Last week, for example, when the order came to get out and hound dog the Russians, her operations officer---Lt. jg Edward J. McGuire, among those on leave---had to be sent out to her.
“That speed of response is traditional---a matter well indicated by the fact that, within four minutes of the time (that) the Japanese began to get an answer from American guns in their attack on Pearl Harbor---the Taney’s 3” guns and 50 caliber machine guns had opened fire…
“At Okinawa…she was attacked some 250 times. In all, some 1,400 Japanese aircraft tried to sink her. In combat there and elsewhere, her guns alone were solely responsible for shooting down four planes and they assisted in the destruction of many others.
“And in peacetime, she is not the less ready…when she was hurrying to the aid of the Angelo Petri, a disabled wine tanker off San Francisco’s Ocean Beach on a February day in 1960.
“While the ship’s company has to be prepared to act immediately in a major emergency, the kind it usually meets is of a minor nature---major though it may be to those directly involved. A common one is like that of the disabled fishing vessel the Taney had in tow…
“In fact, during most of the time the ship is on Ocean Station…the three week cruise is spent cruising back and forth in an area 10 miles square…The ship produces weather observation for transmissions to the mainland, furnishes navigational positions to transoceanic aircraft, gets oceanographic data, as well as stands by for emergency aid to any ship or plane in distress.
“For a well trained crew like the Taney’s, these tasks are performed almost automatically…The business of checking the weather is a fascinating one, the most spectacular part of it being the use of weather balloons---the kind so often credited as the source of flying saucer reports.
“…Of the two types used, one is checked by radar and visual means to determine the direction of the winds. The other is equipped with a transmitter that sends back information on air pressures and temperatures. The information from both kinds is vital for successful plotting of the weather.
“…The aerial work of the Taney’s crew is not more interesting than its submarine and oceanographic studies. One of the many activities in this category is the use of sonar targets in anti-submarine exercises….When it is submerged and well astern, sonar devices will bounce their beams off it. The instrument is specially constructed to simulate as nearly as possible the action of a sub, but the sonar men practice on natural objects as well, such as whales and schools of fish.
“The Taney doesn’t have to refuel at sea now as it did in the North Atlantic on one of its runs to Bizerte, North African anti-submarine convoy duty in 1944, but basically the
same techniques have to be used on a not very uncommon type of emergency, that involving the transfer of a sick or injured person from one ship top another at sea…When the Taney goes on long cruises---she has made 24 in equatorial waters---a medical officer is included….
“…Gen. Charles de Gaulle, President of France, is certainly one of the most distinguished men of our time…(and) was delighted to be given a tour of San Francisco Bay on the Taney during his visit in April 1960.
“…When the day comes for the Taney to be retired, she should not be broken up for scrap. Instead, she should be preserved as a memorial to the US Coast Guard and the invaluable service its men have performed for the country, both in peace and in war. And where she should be preserved on that day…is in Alameda, where she has been home ported for the past 20 years.”
“Queen Coming Home From the War,” Bulletin, Coast Gd. Dist. 12, Feb. 27, 1970
“The Alameda based ‘Queen of the Pacific,’ CG cutter Taney, is finally on her way home after a 10-month tour of duty in the South China Sea…Taney---with the rest of her sister ships of Coast Guard Squadron 3---helped curb the infiltration of enemy men and supplies by water, and also provided naval gunfire support for our forces ashore.
“Her missions---as part of the Coastal Surveillance Force’s ‘Operation Market Time’---helped curb (Communist) Viet Cong activities along coastal areas of South Vietnam. American and South Vietnamese forces were then able to seek out Charlie’s arms caches, and also be assured that more arms and men were not being smuggled in over coastal waters.
“Taney, of course, was well suited for this type of mission, as is the entire Coast Guard, since one of the service’s early duties was protecting the United States against smuggling. Besides Taney’s military role in the war, she also continued her humanitarian missions of search and rescue, and she also helped villagers with medical aid and supplied some of the basic necessities of life.”
Taney in the Vietnam War: Oakland Tribune, March 4, 1970
“The Taney is commanded by Capt. Robert E. Ogin…A majority of her crew of officers and enlisted men make their homes in the (San Francisco) Bay area. ‘Our mission in Vietnam was concerned chiefly with patrols near the coast to check on small craft that might be smuggling arms, supplies or men to the enemy,’ explained Lt. jg Red Sampson…
“’We did a little gunnery with our 5” deck gun in fire support missions,’ said the combat information officer. ‘We also did the usual Coast Guard rescue and assistance work, such as medical evacuation of an injured Navy man, and we took a merchant ship in tow 200 miles off Da Nang,’ he recalled.
“None of their action was anywhere near as exciting as the ship’s babtism of fire on the morning of Dec. 7, 1941 at the entrance to Pearl Harbor…
“’It was a bit exciting the first few times we overhauled Vietnamese junks and trawlers to make inspections,’ recalled Seaman Apprentice Paul Marcoccia, 20. ‘We were looking for unauthorized personnel or contraband. They have draft dodgers there, too,’ explained Marcoccia.
But for most of the young sailors, it was less of a war and more of a grand tour of the Orient that has inspired most of them with a new appreciation of the far Pacific.
“Affectionately known in the Coast Guard as the ‘Queen of the Pacific,’ the Taney called at many far Pacific ports: Subic Bay in the Philippines, Hong Kong, Singapore, Sasebo in Japan, Bangkok in Thailand, Kaoshing in Taiwan, and at Guam and Hawaii.
“’The people were really fantastic…all over there,’ said Marcoccia. ‘If everyone could find out what they’re really like, there would be a lot less fear. Although they are awfully poor, you find a great deal of good humor.. They are always cheerful, and you can talk to almost everyone. Those people are so beautiful,’ he said.
“And they were apparently very good salesmen also. Practically every spare inch aboard the Taney was crammed with the purchases made by the crew, exotic paintings, boxed high fidelity and radio sets, cameras of all sorts, civilian clothing, and souvenirs of the far East.
“Arriving at the Golden Gate, theTaney was greeted with full honors by 12th Coast Guard District vessels and helicopters, as well as spraying fireboats. At her Government Island berth, the Taney was met by a large crowd of families and friends as well as by Rear Adm. Chester Bender, commandant of the 12th Coast Guard District.
“It was a joyous, tearful, emotional greeting. And there was wry humor as the sailors’ women folk greeted the men who came home again from the sea. ‘Where’s my combat pay?’ laughed one officer’s wife. ’10 months alone with three little kids! Whee!’”
“Cutter seizes a record cargo:160 tons of matijuana leaves,” by Bob Robinson,
Washington Times, Oct. 4, 1985
“Jacksonville, FL---The CG cutter Taney returned to port…after seizing an estimated 160 tons of marijuana, the largest such bust on record.
“The 4,176 bales of marijuana that were seized have an estimated street value of #132 million, Coast Guard officials said. ‘That’s what we’re here to do,’ said Cdr. Robert Hoyt, the Taney’s skipper, after the ship docked in the St. John’s River. He said crew members would paint another marijuana leaf on the ship’s tower to mark the latest bust.; 10 leaves are there already.
“The Taney…followed the Sea Maid I and its 175-foot barge for more than 1 ½ days, Hoyt said. The tug and its barge were ‘loitering’ about 300 miles east of Cape Hatteras when the arrests were made…The vessels had been staying in an area about 50 miles square, apparently waiting to make contact with smaller boats that would take the marijuana ashore. When that didn’t happen, the Coast Guard made contact.
“For security reasons, the arrests were not reported until last weekend. Although the Taney’s homeport is Portsmouth, VA, the seized vessels were brought here because it is the nearest port where the Vice President’s Joint Task Force Group has an office.
“Asked where the Sea Maid was headed, Cdr. Hoyt replied, ‘I think that she was where she was supposed to be. We’re getting more and more mother ship operations up toward the north.’
“A spokesman for the Drug Enforcement Administration said it was the largest seizure in US history…The Sea Maid was flying the Honduran flag, but was seized as a stateless vessel after the Honduran government refuted the claim of registry, the Coast Guard said.
“…Ensign John Santucci, who led the boarding party, said no resistance was offered, and no weapons were found aboard either vessel.
“The size of the load surprised US officials, according to Coast Guard spokesman Lt. Cdr. Jim Simpson. ‘We’ve been tracking this for the last three or four years, and the size of the loads has been going down, which we took to be a sign of success,’ he said.
“The average load several years ago generally ranged between 20-30 tons, he said. It has dropped in recent months to between 5-10 tons per shipment. ‘This turns that all around.’
“Ensign Santucci said the bales of marijuana were wrapped in plastic and neatly stacked against the bulkheads. A welder yesterday began cutting holes in the ship’s deck to make it easier for authorities to remove the bales from the barge, which had been taking on water from a split in one of its seams, and was listing heavily toward the stern.
“’It doesn’t matter to us,’ Cdr. Simpson said. ‘It just makes it harder to unload---that’s all.’”
“Taney Leaves Active Service After 50 Years: Cutter Survived Pearl Harbor, by
Rosemary Purcell, Navy Times, Dec. 22, 1986
“Portsmouth, VA---There were few dry eyes among the more than 300 former crewmen of CG Cutter Taney as a memorial wreath was lowered from her deck and her flag folded and presented to the woman who christened her 50 years ago, Mrs. Corinne Taney Marks.
“’I’m amazed that she has lasted as long as she has,’ said Bill East, who was aboard Taney when she was commissioned at the Philadelphia Naval Shipyard in October 1936. East was a seaman on that quiet Sunday morning of Dec. 7, 1941…’The surprise attack was unbelievable, but we did what we were trained to do. The most painful sensation that I had was when we fired the guns and we had no wadding or cotton for our ears,’ East said.
“East---who retired as a warrant officer in 1966---said Taney’s decommissioning marks the end of an era for the Coast Guard. ‘She is a beautiful ship. On spite of changes in her configuration and the guns that have been added to her and then taken away, it is astounding that she looks as good as she does after all this time.
“Seaman Ken Maracek’s brother---who was in the Air Force at the time of the Bombing---warned him that the Japanese ‘Were going to attack Pearl Harbor within 10 days. My brother was visiting me around Nov. 8th. We were out having a few beers, and that’s when he told me. I couldn’t believe it,’ Maracek said.
“Maracek said that he didn’t alert any of his superiors because ‘They would’ve put me in sick bay for being nuts. I had no regrets,’ he said, because the tip ‘Was unbelievable. As far as I was concerned, it was just bar room conversation. It went in one ear and out the other.’
“Maracek described the morning of the attack. ‘During morning colors, somebody ran up to the3 deck yelling that the Japanese were bombing Pearl Harbor. We were in action within a few minutes. John Peterson, who was a gunner’s mate, manned his station on a .50 caliber AA gun. I could hear that gun going off above me, and it was shortly after that that I saw a hole in the side of the Japanese plane’s big red dot. I didn’t se it crash, but I know it was smoking. Taney got it,’ Maracek said.
“Boatswain’s Mate Second William ‘Willie’ Nelson was on liberty with buddies the night before. ‘We had a few beers, and returned to the ship. I kicked off my shoes and tried to get a nap Then general quarters was sounded, and I wondered why.’
“Manning a .30 caliber machine gun, he began to fire at the attacking planes. ‘We were too busy to think about being scared. We just did things automatically. Nothing registered at the time. We didn’t get scared until later that night,’ Nelson said.
Donald Brown was a boatswain’s mate second aboard the cutter. ‘All I could feel at the time was anger. I was ready to pipe the morning colors when I saw what appeared to be an explosion on Sand Island. I was told to sound general quarters. We didn’t have a public address system, so I had to go all through the ship---fore and aft--- yelling for the crew to man their battle stations,’ Brown said.
“’We could see Pearl Harbor from the bridge. We saw the smoke and the fire, and we couldn’t believe what we saw,’ said Frank Soares, who was standing beside shipmate Brown during the attack.”
Recalled Chief Gunner’s Mate George D. Reif, “We never ran into any bad experiences until we would pass Gibraltar. Once we would get close to Algiers, we would hug the African coast, and the German boats would hug the mountains on the African side, then swoop over into the convoys,” Reif said.
“Dale Simpson, Reif’s shipmate, said Taney was in a major battle in which the United States lost destroyer Lansdale, two other vessels and four merchant ships, one in which 600 Army engineers lost their lives.
“Taney, at one point during that action, clipped a portion of a wing off a German torpedo plane that we later believed was the plane that sank Lansdale,’ Reif said. ‘We got a battle star for that action,’ Simpson said.
“In November 1944, Taney again was converted, this time to an amphibious flagship with special communications facilities. After shakedown at Portsmouth, VA, she sailed westward through the Panama Canal to Pearl Harbor, Eniwetok, Ulithi, and Okinawa.
“During the Okinawa campaign, Taney was attacked more than 250 times by more than 1,400 Japanese aircraft. ‘We spent the majority of time during the Okinawa campaign on the small island of Ie Shima where we got credit for taking out seven Kamikaze planes,’ said Reif.
“In October 1945, Taney returned to the United States, and a new home port in Alameda, CA. While operating from Alameda, she patrolled Ocean Weather Stations November and Victor in the Pacific, as making fisheries and law enforcement patrols to Alaska. This continued until Taney was called to serve her country by supplying communications and meteorological support to US forces in Korea.
“In the spring of 169, the cutter was assigned to Coast Guard Squadron 3, headquartered in Subic Bay, Philippines….In 1972, Taney again changed home ports, this time to the Naval Amphibious Base, Norfolk, VA, and in 1976, to Portsmouth, VA, where she was decommissioned…
“Shortly after the flag was lowered from Taney’s stern, it was folded and presented to Corinne Taney Marks, who christened the cutter. Marks is the 72-year-pold great-grandniece of Roger Brooke Taney, for whom the Coast Guard cutter is named.
“’It’s wonderful,’ she said. ‘Taney has survived, and so have I. I couldn’t help shed a few little tears.’ She reminisced about the christening ceremony. ‘There were four ships christened that day---the Campbell, Duane, Ingham, and the Taney. They were clristened in alphabetical order. I was told that I should say a few words. I wrote a few words and pined them inside my purse,’ Marks told Navy Times.
“It was 3 degrees in Philadelphia on the day of the ceremony, and the woman who christened Ingham was dressed in a black dress and a black hat, ‘much more sophisticated than I. I was wearing a turquoise dress with red buttons and a red hat. When the other woman got up to speak, she said, ‘I am as honored as I am gratified. Thank you.’ Well, I was thrown for a loss.’
“When it was Taney’s turn to be christened, ‘I got up and said, ‘Commandant and ladies and gentlemen, then I couldn’t remember anything else. I paused and everyone laughed. Then I remembered my words.’ Her brothers later told her she said, ‘Dammit. I knew I would forget what I wanted to say.’
“’I don’t remember that,’ Marks said. The decommissioning was a sad ceremony for many in attendance ‘It was very hard for me to keep my eyes dry,’ said Maracek. ‘It was a sad occasion. It was like going to a funeral to pay your respects to a dear friend,’ Soares said.
“Ray Butler---who served aboard Taney in Vietnam as a machinist’s mate first---said it is the best built ship the Coast Guard ever built. ‘She is a beautiful ship and that’s thanks to her crew. You are talking about engines and boilers that were built in 1935, and stillgoing strong! It’s really something! She had a hull speed of 21 knots, and I’ll bet we can still make her do it.’
“The ship’s namesake was the son of a prosperous tobacco grower in Calvert County, MD. He was admitted to the bar at Annapolis in 1779. He served in the Maryland House of Delegates before steeling down to practice law in Frederick, MD. In 1806, he married Anne Key, sister of Frances Scott key. In 1827, he was appointed Attorney General of Maryland.
“Taney will sail to Baltimore…where she will become a permanent maritime museum. She will be moored near another floating museum, the 189-year-old frigate Constellation, and World War II submarine Torsk.”
CGC Taney (WHEC-37) Selected Highlights, December 1986
“One of seven Treasury Class ships built. All were named after former Secretaries of the Treasury. The sister ships were Bibb, Campbell, Duane, Hamilton, Ingham, and Spencer.
“A High Endurance Cutter (WHEC): W is the designation for Coast Guard surface vessels. A cutter is a vessel 65 feet or more in length that can accommodate a crew for extended deployment.
“Designated a National Historic Landmark in 1988. The only survivor still afloat of the 101 warships present, and fought during the attack on Pearl Harbor Dec. 7, 1941. Decommissioned Dec. 7, 1986.
“Machinery: Main engines: two Westinghouse double-reduction geared turbines. Main boilers: two Babcock & Wilcox sectional expressed air-encased, superheat oil fired.) 6,200 horsepower. Twin 3-blade propellers provided a maximum speed of 20 knots, while cruising range was 8,270 nautical miles. Its fuel capacity was 135,520 gallons.
“The ship’s complement was as follows:
1936: officers and warrant officers: 16; enlisted men 107, total: 123; 1941: 21, 200, 221; 1945: 26, 226, 252; 1986: 12, 117, 129.
“Armament: World War II: 1940: two 5-inch guns, 4 3-inch anti-aircraft guns, depth charges and Y guns; 1944: four 5-inch guns, four 20mm anti-aircraft guns; hedgehogs; four Mark 44 torpedoes; 1945: two 5-ibch guns, six 40mm AA guns; four 20mm AA guns; hedgehogs; four Mark 44 torpedoes. 1986: one 5-inch gun and two .50 caliber machine guns.
“In 1945, was called to General Quarters 119 times in the first 45 days, and spent up to nine hours on battle stations. Credited with shooting down four kamikazes, one Betty bomber, and several assists.
“During the Korean War of 1950-53, performed communications and weather service, and search and rescue on air routes. During 10 months of service in the Vietnam War in 1969, inspected over 1,000 North Vietnamese vessels. Participated in shore bombardment
of enemy positions. Provided medical treatment for 6,000 Vietnamese villagers. Final duty, 1977-86: interdicted illegal drug traffic in Caribbean, and credited with 11 drug raids.”
Summary History for Guide Training by Paul Cora, Director
“The ship’s keel was laid at the Philadelphia Navy Yard on May 1, 1935, and was completed some 18 months later, being commissioned on Oct. 24, 1936…Altogether, the Treasury Class were the largest and most capable CG cutters yet built, and would remain so until the 1960s.
“Assigned to the Pacific in 1937, Taney’s first home port was Honolulu, HI, from which she carried out maritime patrols aimed at safeguarding American fishing rights and protecting lives and property, and also interdicting the illegal opium trade from the Far East.
“With a cruising range of over 8,000 miles, Taney would be relied on to carry out missions of great endurance, and, in addition to her patrol duties, the cutter supported the American colonization of the equatorial Line Islands in the years before America’s entry into World War II
“In the summer of 1941, as the possibility of war in the Pacific loomed large on the horizon, Taney was placed under US Navy command. After receiving upgraded armament at Mare Island Navy Yard---along with a coat of navy gray paint over her peacetime white---she joined Destroyer Division 80 operating in Hawaiian waters. The morning of Dec. 7, 1941 found the cutter tied up at Pier 6, Honolulu, some eight miles from the Pacific Fleet’s anchorage at Pearl Harbor…
“In late 1943, Taney was ordered to Mare Island Navy Yard to once again undergo a major refit…The ship was fitted with state-of-the-art ‘Hedgehog’ anti-submarine mortars…So armed, Taney was dispatched to the Atlantic for convoy escort duty against German U-boats and maritime bombers.
“In the course of the six convoys the cutter escorted from the US to the Mediterranean and back during 1944, Taney depth-charged many U-boat contacts before attacks on the merchant ships could be made.
“On the evening of Apr. 20, 1944---while serving as the flagship for Convoy USG-38---Taney fought a pitched battle with numerous German torpedo bombers which attacked the merchant ships in force. Arriving just after duck, the German raiders were able to sink several ships despite th3e heavy fire put up by the escorts. Fortunately, Taney’s luck held out, and the cutter emerged unscathed from the convoy battle.
“…Following Japan’s surrender in September 1945, Taney reverted to her peacetime role Coast Guard role. Following another minor refit at Charleston, SC---in which her original lines were generally restored---the cutter began a new Coast Guard duty in the postwar years: ocean weather patrol.
“Stationed along major air and sea routes, Coast Guard cutters on weather patrol cruised a designated grid of ocean for 30 days at a time collecting essential weather and oceanographic information for use by passing ships and aircraft. With just a few interruptions, Taney carried out ocean weather patrol, search and rescue duties, and fisheries patrols…
“During the Korean War, Taney was dispatched to the western and northern Pacific to participate in plane guard duties, standing by along the air routes to Korea ready to furnish emergency assistance to transport aircraft carrying troops and supplies…
“In 1974, she received a special Doppler radar array for use in tracking hurricanes. In 1977, when the Coast Guard’s weather patrol mission came to an end, Taney closed out the last weather station, 200 miles off the coast of New Jersey…
Sent to Baltimore, her final homeport destination, “The most urgent battle in her history is now underway. The needs of preservation and maintenance weigh heavily on the cutter…and Taney is in dire need of basic hull maintenance to help keep her afloat for future generations.
“The Baltimore Maritime Museum”---of which Mr. Cora is the director---‘is engaged in a major capital campaign aimed at raising the hundreds of thousands of dollars needed for the vital work which only a dry dock can provide. Veterans and citizens concerned with preserving one of America’s most historic ships are urged to contribute to the Taney Fund.
“Please consider a tax-deductible contribution to save ‘The Last Survivor of Pearl Harbor!’”
Ship goes ashore for repair, rehab; Taney is high and dry for some needed repair,
By Tom Pelton, The Baltimore Sun, March 15, 2003
“The 2,700-tin warship rose slowly out of Curtis Bay, its black belly pebbled by barnacles and pocked with rust. Water sloughed from the propellers, each taller than the helmeted dockworkers; 24 electric winches hauled inch-thick cables until the World War II-era ship was free of the water for the first time in decades.
“…The Taney lumbered forward atop a wooden cradle mounted on a train car with 112 wheels. A tank-like vehicle pulled in a bar hitched to the ship’s stern….The 327-foot cutter…will be cleaned, painted, and repaired during the next six weeks as part of a $400,000 Federally-funded project to keep the ship well-maintained…
“Shipyard workers will use high-powered water guns to blast away the barnacles, rust, and old paint. Then they will inspect the hull, welding sections that need repair. Finally, will apply coats of epoxy and paint…’A ship on service normally gets dry docked for maintenance every couple of years,’ said then Director John Kellett. ‘It’s been more than 20 years for the Taney, and it’s important that we keep it in good shape because it means so much historically….
“Capt. Ivan Luke---who served on the ship from 1981-84---recalled the Taney crew rescuing a family with children aboard a 50-foot sailboat that foundered during a storm off Cape Hatteras in 1982. As 25-foot waves tossed the craft, its sails shredded, a team of sailors launched a rescue boat and pulled the family to safety.
“’They were grateful to see us, that’s for sure,’ said Luke. ‘It was dark, the sea was so rough, and the rescue boat got damaged banging up against the side of the ship…but it’s really satisfying when you actually save somebody’s life.’
“Tim Firme, 47---who maintains weapons systems at the Coast Guard station---said he has a lot of emotional attachment to the ship, on which he served from 1981-83. ‘The Taney is near and dear to my heart, because she was the first ship I ever served on.,’ Firme said… She’s got a tremendous amount of history behind her…It’s good to see that we’re taking care of her.”
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