By Gary Hudson BMC USCG
Photo Eric Kozowski
Bob Meneghini, myself, Earnie Cassimus and Frank Wescovich started the process in January 2006 to be held Memorial Day weekend May 26-27, 2007. It was a long process for us and we managed to find around 110 of the men that were stationed at Pt. Adams, (The Pt. was across the river and up 3-4 miles in Hammond, OR.) The Pt. closed down in 1967 and all boats and men were transferred to the Cape. Cape D and the MLBS between 1960 and 1980. (had a couple before and after) It was held at the Elks Club in Long Beach, WA. on the 26th and we seated 220 for dinner. We had as speakers Admiral Ed Nelson (Group Commander Astoria OR. early 70's, Command Chief 13th CG District BMCM Kim Brown, Lt. Jamie Frederick, CO Cape D. and CWO Rick Spencer, CO, NMLBS.
Many months before May we contacted the Sea Scout Base at Portland, OR. as we knew they had and maintained 2 of our old 44 ftrs. Their Sea Scout names are Viking (44372) and Voyager (44331). We asked about them bringing both boats down to the Cape for our reunion. They jumped at the chance. I had to figure a way to get fuel for them, the CG would not donate.
I even went into the CG recruiting office in Vancouver, WA. to see if recruiting would spring with some money and they told me they did not do this and said maybe I should go next door to the Navy recruiting office as they thought they would do something. No way was this retired Coast Guard Chief Boatswains Mate going into a Navy office begging for money for fuel for a couple of ex CG 44's. I went home and sent a blanket e-mail to everyone coming to the reunion saying I needed fuel money over and above what they had already paid to attend and that I was putting $20. in and envelope and could they match it. In no time I had $1100.00 in the bank and it was a done deal. To make a longer story short the 44's arrived Friday Evening at 1700, the Cape fed them during their stay. We had them all at the Elks Club Saturday for dinner. I fuelled their boats Saturday morning for around $500. and gave them the rest. Before they left Sunday afternoon Bob gave them another $500 that the reunion got from selling some music CD's.
Sunday, everyone we could get on went out on the Capes, NMLBS, Sea Scout 44's, the Port of Ilwaco's 44 and a CG Auxiliary boat for a short service on the bar under the Cape honouring all lost seamen. I got to operate one of the Scouts 44's on the way back in, swing her around 180 and park it like it was yesterday when in fact it had been 30 years since I sat at the helm. The 3rd 44 footer
belongs to the Port of Ilwaco and was the 44303 which Tom MacAdams operated way back for the Life magazine pictures. Tom and his wife were also at the reunion. By the way, the Sea Scouts maintenance and up keep of our boats is impeccable as is the Ports 44. In 30 years there most likely will not be many of us left but there most likely be 3 of the 44's left and some 45-50 year old Sea Scouts that still remember the trip down and back and meeting many of the surfman that did duty in the Pacific NW.
After all the boats returned everyone went on a tour of the station and the NMLBS which was fantastic and at 1300 there was a picnic put on with plenty of food and a couple of kegs of beer. We had people coming from FL. LA. AL. OH. CA. MT and all over the Pacific NW. It turned out better then we ever expected for 4 men that had never done this before. You can not believe all the e-mails I received from the men about what a great time they had.