The real Perfect Storm and the USCGC Tamaroa

Back in WWII the USS Zuni, an ocean going Tug roughly 220 ft long, was highly decorated for action in the Pacific conflict. After being torpedoed she towed a battle ship back to Pearl a thousand miles. She towed four large battle ships back to the yards in Pearl and saved a lot of seamen. The Zuni was herself put in dry dock and ten feet cut off her (battle damage) and at the end of the war turned over to the Coast Guard.

She spent 40+ years doing search and rescue, drug interdiction, OFPAC Fisheries patrol off the 100 mile curve, ice patrol, Mariel Boat lift of Cuba and rode out at least three hurricanes while I was stationed on her. I had the pleasure of serving on the CGC Tamaroa (formerly the USS Zuni) as the radioman in charge.

People make fun of the Coast Guard until it is their boat that is floundering is rough seas. If my memory serves me correctly it was in 1991 when the s/v Santori sent out an SOS. We got underway and rescued three people from the Santori. We then headed toward a New York National Guard Helicopter that went down with the crew in the water. We got everyone out but one. Next we headed toward the Andrea Gail, a F/V out of Glouchester, Ma. It had tried to return from fishing way out to sea in the Flemish Gap.

Hollywood made a movie about this rescue using the CGC Vigorous in the movie. The CGC Tamaroa was decomissioned by then. You may recall it, the Perfect Storm. Today, the USS Zuni, CGC Tamaroa lies at the bottom of the ocean as an artifical reef.

This is a good ending for this war hero. Much better than rusting away and turned into scrap metal.

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