Sunday, April 3, 2016

C is for Coast Guard

This post is part of the A to Z Challenge for genealogy bloggers.

When my husband joined the Coast Guard in 1970, we thought he was the first in his family to do so.  Many years later, when his father died in 2004, we discovered in some family papers he had, that this was not the case.

My husband's father and grandfather had also served in the Coast Guard, as temporaries during World War II.  They were port security personnel, patrolling the port of Jacksonville.  It is rather indicative of my father-in-law's lack of communication with his son that he never mentioned that he had been in the Coast Guard.

So, rather than being the first, my husband was part of a three-generation tradition in the family!

But the story does not end there.

While he was in the Coast Guard, one of his duty stations was in St. Petersburg, Florida.  He did a variety of things, as everyone in the Coast Guard is called upon to do.  He inspected a nuclear plant.  He was in charge of safety and security for sailboat races.  He was the local command's liaison with the Coast Guard Auxiliary, a civilian organization dedicated to providing help and support to the Coast Guard through public instruction in boating safety, courtesy examinations of pleasure craft, search and rescue, patrols, and in other ways.

I saw how much fun he was having, and decided I wanted to be part of it, too.  Due to some misunderstandings, it wasn't until we were back in Jacksonville, after my husband had transferred from active duty to the Coast Guard Reserve, that I managed to enlist in the Coast Guard Reserve.  I took the oath on 3 February 1976, entering as a yeoman third class.  During my years in the CGR, I went from yeoman third class to a commission, as a lieutenant junior grade.  I had to stand down before I made lieutenant, because I had developed osteoarthritis and could no longer carry out my duties. 

And before that, he and I had also joined the Coast Guard Auxiliary!  We had a 17-foot open runabout, a beautiful little boat with a lot of get-up-and-go.  We did search and rescue and patrols in that boat, and had a great deal of fun in doing so.

We definitely are a Coast Guard family.

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