Joe Mutascio

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83324 History 


HI! Dan long time no talk. this is BUGSEY from the restored cg40450/cg40581. I'am sending you this because I know you will love it. I met this man's son Joe JR. in the doctors office when I was reading my CG manual for the cg40450. He sit next to me and then said were you in the CG? I said yes, why? I see that book your reading and it looks old and official. So it went on "low and behold" his father served in World War 11 on the 83324/cg474 in the Pacific theater, like Bataan, Leyte and all around there. Check out this scrap book and about 50 more original pictures. You will love it as the next stop for this boy is a ticket to Washington State if you know what I mean. How's those engines running? I just finished rebuilding two turbo 671 for the 450 but the 190hp/671,s have been running fine. Last year with all my 15 trips 120 running hours total in two years, 185 hours, 1500 miles and still purring. I rebuilt 1 right hand rotation for the new boat (581) and it runs super at 40 hours. We had our 40 boat reunion, a 3 day affair that went over like a big diamond ring. The boats never stopped for 3 days. They would come in and go out. Every 40 boat coxswain who wanted to drive, drove the boat then did the drills like we did 50 years earlier. It was out of site. Guy's came from all over. The reunion was a great success. Go on Google under cg405810 or cg40450. We did some drills with the 82'er LADY B, the former USCG Point Brown 82362, now USCGAUX823258 commanded by Commander Stew Sutherland from Staten Island N.Y. What's the latest on your boat? I have been on the site a lot. Say in touch and tell me what you think about the 883.

BUGSEY
         

Joseph E. Mutascio, Sr (Dad) 

Joseph E. Mutascio, Sr. (Dad) served in the U.S. Coast Guard from July of 1942 to March of 1946.  He never really said why the C.G.. I would guess it was his love of sailing and the sea.  Before leaving for the service a big farewell party was held in his honor.  As Dad always loved a good party Iím sure a good time was had by all.

 

 Joe Mutascio, second from right 

Upon entering the C.G. he attended boot camp at the Manhattan Beach Training School in Brooklyn, NY.  Before the war Manhattan Beach was a summer vacation spot with about sixty duplex bungalows. When the Coast Guard took over, all the partitions were removed to make room for 30 double deck bunks, rifle racks, 4 commodes and 2 sinks. Among other facilities, barracks and training buildings were built. Thereís nothing specific I was able to find in his memorabilia that discusses Manhattan Beach, but then itís hard to imagine even Dad even having fun at boot camp. 

Following Manhattan Beach Dad attended basic training at the U.S.C.G Training Facility, Fort McHenry, Baltimore, MD in September of 1942.  In 1942, the War Department leased to the U.S. Coast Guard 8.4 acres of the park at Fort McHenry, Baltimore, MD for the establishment of a fire control and Port Security Training facility.  Along with ďCoastiesĒ, as they were called, during the war local civilians were sworn in at ceremonies to be trained in policing, sabotage prevention, and fire-fighting damage control aboard ships. The Fort McHenry Training Station began operations on May 15th to train men and women in port security work. Twenty temporary buildings were erected on the east seawall grounds. With the end of the war in August 1945, the Fort McHenry U.S. Coast Guard had trained 28,053 personnel.  I believe this is where Dad met one of his life-long friends Joe Siano, who hailed from Philly.  Joe is a prominent figure in many of the photos taken during Dadís time in Baltimore.  Joe later would be deployed to Europe and participate in the Normandy Invasion.  Later in life Dad would become Joe Sianoís son, Joe Jr. godfather. 

After his training at Ft. McHenry in Maryland Dad attended Motor Machinistís Training School at the Brooklyn School of Automotive Trades in Brooklyn, NY.  This would prepare him for his duty as the engine mechanic aboard his 83í C.G. cutter.  During this time Dad stayed at the Hotel Sutton in NY.  Not sure if itís the same one but a Hotel Sutton still exists today in NY. 

Between August of 1943 and January 1945 Dad spent time stationed in Norfolk, VA, Little Creek, VA, and Cape May, NJ.  Best I can tell he was stationed aboard the C.G. Cutter 83324 while in Little Creek, VA.  I think Dad really enjoyed his time in Cape May.  He loved basketball and I think of all the sports it was his favorite.  He spent time playing for the C.G. basketball team while stationed at Cape May and use to like to tell the story about how they kept him there because he was a good ballplayer. 

 

With the escalation of the war in the Pacific Dadís cutter was ordered to NY in January of 1945.  Apparently during this time it was a common site in the harbors of New York and Bayonne to see many cutters lined up waiting to be loaded aboard liberty ships and deployed overseas some to Europe to support the invasion at Normandy and other like Dadís to the Pacific.  For the first time since itís inception the C.G. had been placed under the operational control of the Navy.  On February 26, 1945 (as I write this exactly 59 years ago today) Dadís cutter, 83324, was loaded aboard a liberty ship in Bayonne, NJ and he sailed off to the war in the Pacific.  He was not allowed to reveal his location or details of his destination or his mission to family and friends at home, and for a long time his mail and pictures were subject to censorship. 

After 9 days at sea he arrived in Panama.  He was able to go ashore in Panama City while his ship prepared to pass through the Panama Canal.  Dad spent the day touring Panama in a horse and buggy drinking rum and cokes for 15 cents.  It was said to be a familiar sight in Panama to see liberty ships going through to the Pacific with a deck load of 83-footers.  It took 8 hours for his ship to pass through the Panama Canal which he said was quite an experience and a marvel to see.  After that it was out to the vast Pacific.  It must have been something to see.  He talked about it to me later in his life.

Dad spent 43 days at sea sometimes not seeing another ship for two weeks at a time.  To reach the Philippines the Allies used two routes: one through the central Asia Pacific via the Gilberts, Marshalls, Marianas, Carolines, and Palaus; the other through the Southwest Pacific Area via the north coast of

New Guinea.  An advantage of the second route was that it would provide for land-based air cover along the way.  Dadís ship took the southern route.

After 43 days at sea on April 10, 1945 his ship arrived at Manus Island of the Admiralty Islands off the northern coast of New Guinea. 

After 43 days at sea on April 10, 1945 his ship arrived at Manus Island of the Admiralty Islands off the northern coast of New Guinea.  After that it was a short hop to Hollandia, New Guinea (now Jayapura) a major stepping stone for the Allies during the war. 
 

Hollandia, New Guinea
 

Finally on April 22, 1945 after 56 days his ship arrived ad Samar Island, Guiuan in the Philippine Islands.  He would spend the next 10 months stationed aboard the 83324 cutter at various locations throughout the Philippines.  His mission was antisubmarine patrol in the island harbors.  Places like Tacloban, Leyte Islands, Mindanao, Pilar, Iloilo, Panay and Manilla.

In August of 1945 the U.S. ended the war against Japan suddenly with the use of the A-bomb.  At first the thought of seeing Japan intrigued Dad but that didnít happen. 

On January 16, 1946 Dad received news that his cutter, 83324 would be decommissioned in the Philippines.  January 25, news came down that 49 men were being sent home.  Again through some error Dadís name was not on the list.  It sounds as though he had to raise some hell to get his release.  He once mentioned how he needed a chaplain to assist him to get released.  Finally on February 14, word came down for his release.  At this point he was the only mechanic left on his cutter.  After a final inspection of his engine room passed he was released to the Navy receiving station on Samar Island.  A short time later he was aboard the U.S.S. Bronx on his way home via the west coast.  He was discharged from the service on March 22, 1946

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Joseph E. Mutascio


The 83í Cutter 

The 83 footer story began in 1940 when the first of 230 cutters was built for the USCG. The wooden cutters were used for convoy duty in the Gulf and ASW patrol off the east coast of the U.S.  From 1941-1945 the 83 footers were used for antisubmarine patrol, coastal convoy escort, and search and rescue. Spring 1944, 60 units were shipped to Great Britain and became USCG Rescue Flotilla No. 1 based at Poole, England, it deployed in two 30-boat rescue groups for Normandy landings and rescued 1,500. 30 of these 60 units returned to the United States, 24 remained in Europe, 4 were transferred to the Royal Navy, and 2 were lost. They were also known as the Matchbox Fleet. 

Crews averaged 13. Besides the captain and chief boatswain's mate, there were three motor machinist mates (Dad), one fireman, one radar-sonar man, one gunners mate, three boatswain mates, two seamen, and a cook.

January 1945, 30 units were ordered to COMSERV7THFLEET in the PHILSEAFRON as USCG PTC Flotilla Number One and operated out of Manicani Island, just south of the island of Samar near Leyte (Dadís 83324).  None of these units had served in Europe and none were returned to the United States, all were decommissioned in the Philippines and disposed of by the Foreign Liquidation Commission (a branch of the U.S. State Department).

24 additional cutters were shipped to the Pacific to serve in Advance Base Harbor Defense Force (ABHD) at bases in Okinawa and Eniwetok in the Marshall Islands, and Saipan and Guam in the Mariana Islands.  The surrender of the last Japanese bastion in the Marianas took place on the deck of the 83434 when the Japanese formally surrendered the island of Aquijan.

 After the end of the war the Coast Guard control transferred back to the Treasury Department.  61 of the 83 footer fleet was utilized by the Coast Guard for Search and Rescue. During the cold war, most were assigned to Harbor Entrance Patrol. The last 83 footer, the WPB-83484, was decommissioned on April 15, 1963.

 

 

 

 

 
         
         
         
 

 


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