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CG  Heritage Fleet - Press Releaase
 

Coast Guard Heritage Fleet to Escort Training Square-Rigger Eagle

 Two World War II era Coast Guard boats with Puget Sound historical connections and another from the Vietnam War era will escort the square-rigged sail training vessel Eagle into Seattle’s Elliott Bay on July 1 (Tuesday).   Known as “America’s Tall Ship,” the Eagle is scheduled to make a one day stopover in Seattle on its way to participate in the Tall Ships Tacoma 2008 event July 3 – 7.   It has been three decades since the almost 300-foot-long sailing vessel has visited Puget Sound.   

The Eagle will be welcomed to Seattle by a three boat Coast Guard Heritage Fleet which spans more than a half century of Coast Guard history from WWII to the mid-1990’s. The Fleet consists of an 83-foot patrol boat, CG-83527, built in 1944, a 65-foot buoy tender, Blueberry, built in 1941, and an 82-foot patrol boat built in 1962 and formerly known as the Point Divide 

The CG-83527 was assigned to Tacoma beginning in 1945 and provided security, search and rescue, vessel safety inspection and navigational aids services in south Puget Sound until decommissioned in 1962.  Sold as military surplus in the mid-1960’s the retired cutter spent more than 35 years as a live aboard yacht in Alameda, California.    In 2003 Tacoma’s former Coast Guard patrol boat was itself rescued, purchased and

 

restored to its early 1960’s military appearance by Combatant Craft of America (CCA).   The nonprofit CCA operates the CG-83527 in Puget Sound as part of its mission to preserve the history of military patrol boats and honor those veterans who served aboard these vessels in times of war and peace. 

Joining the CG-83527 to escort the Eagle will be the Blueberry, a former Coast Guard buoy tender built early in WWII by the Birchfield Boiler & Shipbuilding Co. in Tacoma.    She placed and maintained navigational aids on Pacific Northwest inland waterways including the Columbia River during her 34-year service career and was decommissioned in the mid-1970’s.  

The Blueberry (CG-65302) was purchased and restored by Peter Whittier of Orcas Island and is owned and operated currently by Mark Freeman, a longtime tug master and owner of Fremont Boat Co. in Seattle.   A Coast Guard veteran who served at the Westport, Washington station from 1955 to 1959, he received the service’s Commendation Medal for rescuing more than 20 crew members from a cargo ship which had run aground on the northern Washington coast in fog and heavy seas.   
A final historic patrol boat joining the Coast Guard Heritage Fleet will be the Seattle Maritime Academy’s 82-foot Maritime Instructor, formerly the Point Divide (WPB-82337).    Built by the Coast Guard in 1962, the cutter was assigned to Corona del Mar, California for search and rescue, law enforcement, boating safety and environmental response duties in southern California coastal
waters.   Coast Guard crews also manned 82-footers in combat patrol roles during the Vietnam War from the late 1960’s to early 1970’s.   Today as the Maritime Instructor, the former patrol boat is part of the Seattle Community College District’s program to train future vessel officers, engineers and crew members.  

During the Tall Ships Tacoma  event the CG-83527 will escort the Eagle during the Parade of Sail on July 3 (Thur.) and will be on exhibit and open for public tours from July 4 through 6 on the Thea Foss Waterway.    

For more information about the CG-83527 and the Coast Guard Heritage Fleet go to www.cg83527.org or call 206-947-2303 or 360-943-2858.

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