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
In about three weeks, we set sail for Ocean Station Alpha (still
called Able, as the new international 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 pictures 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,
Sincerely,Gilbert B. (Gil) Leach
|This Story was from 1952-54 aboard
by 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