A short while ago former Southwind Engineering Officer Captain Bob Yuhas, USCG (Ret.) suggested that the Southwind Association look into collecting and publishing shipmates‘ ―best of times‖ and ―worst of times‖ memories of tours of duty aboard Southwind. The original idea was to collect the stories, publish them in pamphlet format, and distribute them free of charge at the 2010 Baltimore Reunion. The Association thought this concept was an outstanding idea, the 2010 Baltimore Reunion Planning Committee agreed, and I volunteered to collect, edit, and publish the submitted recollections, anecdotes, short stories, sea stories, and other good or bad memories of Southwind. However, instead of publishing the recollections in pamphlet format the Association decided to publish them on our website as the publication will become a living document, with new stories added as they are received.
I am positive that you have verbally shared those stories with your wives, children, grandchildren, friends, and others since you departed Southwind many years ago, and this is the perfect opportunity for you to write and share those stories with everyone. Since the publication will be posted on our website, think of the contributed anecdotes as lasting memories for loved ones, friends, and the many shipmates who served on Southwind during her 40-years of distinguished service to the Coast Guard, the Navy, and even for a short while, the Soviet Union.
Each recollection is posted as it is received, and the first story - Grounding of the Southwind - by RM1 Ralph Breschini, USCG (Ret.), is an example of a ―worst of times‖ experience that occurred many years ago. Ralph‘s story was previously posted on our website for several years, and is a first- hand account of Southwind’s 1968 grounding in the Antarctic. A short while after Ralph‘s story was posted former SN Patrick Newman contributed his additional observations, entitled Additional Memories, about the grounding. Each is a good example of the kind of story that captures the essence of what I believe was one of the ―worst of times‖ experiences on Southwind. Since I was aboard at the time I can attest to the accuracy, and I vividly remember all the details of the grounding like they occurred yesterday. However, not all good or bad memories that you have experienced have to be written with such minute detail.
Instead, your story could be a few paragraphs explaining the who, what, where, when, and why of some event that occurred aboard that you remember so well. It could represent the ―best of time‖, or the ―worst of times‖, or both. More importantly it is significant because it was an event that took place on a ship you served on many, many years ago, and the recollection of that event has remained permanently etched in your memory. This is a significant occurrence, and I request that you share your story or stories. If you have any photographs that you believe would enhance the story please send them to me in JPEG or other similar format, and I along with our Webmaster, Jim Tidwell, will include them in the publication.
As I indicated previously, I will edit the stories before they are published on our website, but any changes will be made only with your permission. Only you can tell it correctly, and I have only one request that you consider while writing of your experiences – please do not embarrass other shipmates. Dig deep into your memory banks to find the perfect story or stories - good or bad - about Southwind, translate those memories into written words, and share the end result with all of us. I am positive there are many more outstanding stories that will be forthcoming.
Ed Clancy (SNQM to QM1, January 1967 to January 1970) CWO-4 (BOSN) USCG (Ret.)