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Last Time I Saw Her!

I was an EN1 stationed on the CGC Planetree in Honolulu, Hawaii I was due to rotate and as usual the Coast Guard found a way to rob me of my plans for a cross country return trip. They were doing a complete rehab of the buoy tender fleet. They brought in the CGC Mallow from Guam to relieve the CGC Planetree. The crews swapped and the entire old Mallow crew was to take the Planetree to Juneau, Alaska and swap for the CGC Sweetbriar to be delivered to Baltimore. I was one of only two Planetree crewmembers (a BMC and myself) that stayed with her to Juneau so we could train the Sweetbriar crew on her. We spent two weeks in Juneau cross training and then we departed on the Sweetbriar to carry her on around to the shipyard in Baltimore. It was sometime in the evening in 1974 that we pulled into the shipyard. After we secured I walked out on deck and there she was.

I had heard the CGC Southwind was decommissioned but it still was a sad sight. I found the OOD and asked if I could board her and he let me. I had hoped to find some sort of souvenir and he expressed doubt that I would find anything. Hell I was trained on the Southwind to locate salvage items. After about two hours of looking I found what must have been a deck force storage area. Rolled up and tucked in one of the outer frame I-beams was a full canvas painted gangway dodger. It was huge when rolled out and I could not carry it home on the plane. So I cut out the painted picture of the ship in the ice and still have it today. I had someone make a nautical looking frame for it. It was on display at our last reunion. (Pictured below).

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