Escorting the Bark Eagle
Gilbert B. (Gil) Leach
If you will send me your favorite pictures or stories when you were
aboard, I'd like to put them on this site.
E_Mail me the info at
web master

I have what may be additional information on the Rockaway and her escorting
the Eagle. I went in the USCG in Sept 1952, and completed boot at Cape May just
before Christmas. After about a week's leave, I reported to Ellis Island, which the
USCG was using as a receiving center. My ship, the Rockaway was still at sea. In
a few days (3?) I was sent on to St. George to report on board. I had an
application for Quartermaster School, but all positions were filled at the time.

In about three weeks, we set sail for Ocean Station Alpha (still called Able, as
the new internartional alphabet had not yet been established). Additionally, we
were to maintain position in the most NE corner of the station, rather than the
traditional O/S. The Air Force was moving a large number of new jet fighters to
Europe, and we were to be as close to their track over Iceland as possible.

Another feature of this patrol, was that our relief was to be a ship from the
Netherlands. But, the winter of 52/53 was the year when the dikes in the
Netherlands failed, and all possible resources were at work on that problem. We
learned this a couple of days before we were to be relieved, and the Cutter
Androscoggin was dispatched from ......where? Miami, FL, to come to our relief
near Iceland! We got home from that patrol about ten days late, running out of
food. On the way back, we encountered a very large icefield, though not very
thick. After attempting to skirt it, we slowly made our way through it, and the
picures on your website appear to be of this experience.

But, then, I'm supposed to be telling you about the Eagle. After the Able patrol,
we did underway training at Newport, then firearms training at Cape May. In May,
1953,the ship was assigned the duty to escort the Eagle on its annual training
cruise. Nearly all the crew were to be reassigned as the cadets would perform
most of the duties. We took the Rockaway to New London, where she remained
a short while until the cadet cruise. I was assigned to Gloucester City, NJ for port
security in the Delaware Bay and ports of Phila and Wilmington. In a few weeks,
my orders for Quartermaster school came through, and off I went again.

The point of this is ..... the Rockaway escorted the Eagle in 1953. You show
1954, which may be correct as well, but I'm certain 1953 is correct, per my
experience on board the Rockaway.

After QM school, I was assigned to the Spencer, also out of St. George, and
remained aboard until separation in August, 1956. I was QM1 for the last full year
of my service, and I loved the work.

Unfortunately, I have no decent pictures to give to you of duty on the
Rockaway. On the next stop in Argentia, I purchased a good camera, and took
many pictures during the remainder of my hitch, including a very nice shot of
the Eagle, which stopped by when we were on Station Echo. She was hove to,
with sea anchor out in order to spoil the wind, and reamin nearly stationary in
the water, yet in full sails. The USCG archives have one of the two slides I took,
and I will share this shot if you so desire. The reason for stopping, was the
skipper of the Eagle came over to the Spencer for tea with our skipper, Capt.
Quentin McKay Greeley.

I hope this information proves useful to you,

Gilbert B. (Gil) Leach