First of all, I had to go to summer school to get my diploma so I could
get into the Coast Guard. (I had enough credits to graduate except that
I was missing a necessary 1/2 credit of English).
I signed up for an English course and we read the story about the collision
between the Stockholm and Andrea Doria. In the narrative of the distress
the different commercial ships that responded as well as the Tamaroa was
listed. I finished the class, collected my diploma, went to the recruiter and
was soon off to boot camp. (November Company 116) August 1983.
I didn't even think about the story I had read to get there. It was the furthest
thing from my mind, for obvious reasons.
Nearing graduation from boot camp, the billet wish list came out. A company
commander, whose name I do not remember, warned us that if the Tamaroa
was on the list to stay far away from it. I still did not make the connection.
Low and behold, there she was. On the list. New York City. Only a couple
of hours from my home in CT. Nobody wanted it. It was all mine. I got my
orders and and took a weeks leave before reporting aboard.
I remember taking the Governors Island ferry across to "The Rock". I waited
for the island's bus to pick me up. As the bus rounded a turn I saw two sleek
looking ships. I searched for hull numbers and discovered they were the
Cutters Gallatin (WHEC 721) and Hamilton (WHEC 715). We went down the
road about a half mile and the bus stopped. The driver told me I was at Tango
Pier. That's where the Tamaroa was. I stepped off the bus and was met by
SN Ross. We walked around the back of the bus and that was when I got my
first glimpse of what would be my home for the next 3 years.
The tide was low and all I could see was the superstructure. My first words
to SN Ross were, and I quote, "That's a ship"!? I had just seen two big white
ones and now I'm facing a glorified tug boat I thought to myself. SN Ross
chuckled and down the pier we went.
I was there nearly a year when one day I was up in the ward room snooping
around for a video to watch. I pulled open a drawer and a small plack hit the
front of the drawer. I pulled it out to read it. It was given to the Tamaroa by
the owners of the Andrea Doria in thanks to her rapid response to save the
lives of ill-fated cruise ship. It was at that very moment I recalled the summer
school reading assignment that got me into the Coast Guard in the first place.
It was at that very moment I recalled what that company commander, whose
name I do not remember, had said.
Sometime in 1985, we moved homeport to New Castle NH. It is in New Castle
where I met my wife on a blind date. We have been happily married since
October 10, 1987.
That is one of the many reasons why I love her so.
John emailed us with a further anecdotes:
About the new photo labled Fantail & 01 deck year unknown. I believe this may be
around 1986 or 1987.
It looks like New Castle NH in the back ground. Notice how the brow leads to the 01 deck. At low tide in NH we would actually walk almost
down to the 01 deck. At times we would be slightly aground at low tide.
The ladder that leads to the 01 deck was installed during the yard period during the
summer of 1985 (I think). It came off the Eagle.
As I was looking at the afore mentioned photo, I noticed the alarms on the bulkhead
behind the towing bit. We were 250 miles off shore of Cape Hatteras during Hurricane
Gloria (40' seas) when some of the shoring material came loose from the rack that
hung from the 01 deck. One of the 4" x 4" pieces of lumber fell onto the collision alarm
hitting the switch. As if we weren't paniced enough, now we were bracing for collision.
Thank you for all your efforts to save the Tam. She kept all of her crews safe.
On another note: The first CO of the Tam was Capt. Eugene A. Coffin, JR. His grandson,
was our chief quartermaster. I don't remember his first name but he was QMC Coffin and
was the only NONCOM that was qualified as underway OOD. He was very proud to serve
on the Tam.