Saturday, December 31, 2011

USCG Station Grays Harbor 1984 - 1986, My Service Photos

For my last posting of 2011, I'll be posting some photos from my time when I was stationed at US Coast Guard Station Grays Harbor.  This station is located in Westport, Washington, on the open Pacific Coast, near the mouth of Grays Harbor.  All of the photos in this posting are from my personal service photos.

While I was stationed there, we had two 44 foot motor lifeboats, one 52 foot motorlifeboat, one 41 foot utility boat, and one 30 foot surf rescue boat.  Since then, the 44 foot lifeboats have been decommissioned and replaced, the 30 foot surf boats as well.  The 52 footer still remains.  I arrived in 1984 as a Seaman Apprentice, E-2, and left in 1986 as a Seaman, E-3.  I stood radio watches, served as a lifeboat crewman and rescue swimmer, and did the usual boat maintenance duties.  I was assigned as the boat keeper to the 30 foot SRB, 30617.  I was in charge of keeping the boat ready for duty at any moment and making sure that the engine was run daily and that the equipment was in top shape and stowed correctly.

Here are couple of shots that were taken on board one of the 44 footers while out on a training cruise in the harbor, just prior to when I left in 1986.  I am in the first picture.  The rest of the crew is in the second.

Station Grays Harbor has some of the most challenging and roughest surf in the United States. It is because of this that they still have one of only four 52 foot lifeboats, the MLB Invincible.  All of the 52 footers are located at lifeboat station on the Oregon and Washington coasts.  I have been out in enormous surf, in the 30 foot range on these lifeboats, even rolling one 44 footer several times in the surf off the North Jetty!  These boats were tough!

NOTE:  For those of you who may doubt the size of the surf on the Grays Harbor Bar, check out this story from the The Daily World, the local news paper, dated January 19, 2018.  Grays Harbor can get HUGE ground swell and even bigger breaking waves when the big storms hit!  Here is a quick quote from the article and a link:   
"The Grays Harbor bar was closed to all recreational marine traffic with reports of 26-28-foot swells and winds of up to 30 knots. “Please be careful and stay away from the coast and the shorelines,” the U.S. Coast Guard Pacific Northwest detachment warned on its Facebook page." 

44 MLB in surf.
52 MLB Invincible in surf near jetty.

Here are some various shots of some of the boats at the station:

MLB 44372
SRB 30617
SRB 30617 in hoist.

One of the routine training missions that we did each week, was "Helo Ops".  We would go out on the harbor and practice hoisting with the Sikorsky H3 helicopters from USCG Air Station Astoria...... sometimes at night, and sometimes during the day.  These following photos are of a couple of those "Helo Ops" training days.  These first shots are of the 52 foot MLB Invincible and the 30 foot SRB 30617 and one of the H3 helicopters.

52 MLB Invincible with SRB 30617.

These next shots are of some "Helo Ops" with the station's 41 foot Utility Boat.  The 41 footer was only in the water during the summer months when the water was calmer.

Here are a few shots of me next to the 52 foot MLB Invincible while it was in the boat shed for maintenance.

An for the last shots, here are a few taken from one of the life boats looking back at the station and at the Westport Marina.

Looking at the station and docks from inside the marina.
Looking at the station covered moorage.

Wednesday, December 28, 2011

New Finnish Puuko Knife: Kauhavan Puukkopaja, Matti Koski, Finland

Now that we are through the big Yule weekend, I figured that it was time to showcase one of the gifts that I received............. Thanks Jim!

This knife is a beautifully crafted Puuko knife from Finland!  The knife was hand made by Matti Koski, the owner of Kauhavan Puukkopaja, one of the finest traditional knife making shops in Finland today.  Here is a link to his web site....... it is in Finnish, but you can always use the Google Translator page to change it to English (or whatever!).

This knife has a full tang blade of high carbon steel, with a birch wood and bone handle, and brass end cap.  The sheath is hand sewn and tooled in the traditional Finnish fashion.  All in all, a very beautiful and extremely functional knife!  This is a knife that is equally at home in the wilds or in the workshop.

I showcased another Puuko knife of mine in a past blog entry (complete with some history and information on Puuko knives in general).  You can jump over to that page here:

And now for your viewing pleasure......... here is the photo album of this beautiful knife:

Tuesday, December 27, 2011

US Navy Foul Weather Hat, WW2, Helmet, Winter, N-1

For today's posting I'll be showing off a bit of WW2 naval history........... a "Helmet, Winter, N-1", foul weather hat that that our son N8 gave me while he was home for Christmas.

These hats were designed to be worn with the USN N-1 Foul Weather Deck Jackets.  The first style of these hats (and jackets) were made in navy blue, without a visor.  Sometime around 1943, the US Navy changed the color to Olive Drab.  The Navy was afraid that the Navy sailors who would be landing with the Army during the various European landings, would be mistaken as German Soldiers, by accident, if they were wearing blue.

Surprisingly, there are quite a few of these vintage hats that are still floating around.  This particular hat is in new and unissued condition, size 7 1/4, Olive Drab canvas, and lined in wool "blanket material".

Without further delay, here is the album............