Heroism Unknown: US Coast Guard in WW 2

“the Jaws of Death”
 Omaha beach, early morning of June 6th 1941. D-Day.

 

LCVP_at_Normandy

“The Jaws of Death.”

  US Coast Guard-manned LCVP from the U.S.S. Samuel Chase lands troops of the U.S. Army’s First Division on Omaha Beach, morning of June 6, 1944 (D-Day). Official Coast Guard Photo #2343 by CPHOM Robert F. Sargent. This photo is in the public domain and cannot be copyrighted. 

Many websites place their copyright on US Government photographs which is against the policy of the Federal Government.

LCVP was an acronym for”landing craft, vehicle, personal.”

USS_Samuel_Chase_APA-26

The parent ship of the landing craft pictured above was the  USS Samuel Chase, was a specially designed attack troop transport ship. During World War Two, the ship was manned by the US Coast Guard. The ship was named for Samuel Chase, a signatory to the Declaration of Independence. Held in the US Navy’s reserve fleet for decades, the Samuel Chase was sold for scrap in 1973. US Coast Guard manned attack transport USS Samuel Chase circa 1941. Official US Coast Guard photo in the public domain.

While not well-known today, the officers and men of the US Coast Guard performed heroic actions in World War Two. Their history gets subsumed into the history of the US Navy because the President of the United States has the authority to place the US Coast Guard under the command of the navy in time of war. This happened in both world wars although the USCG retained its status as an independent service.

 

 

US Reinforcements being landed Normandy invastion

American reinforcement troops arriving at Normandy coast, France, in 1944. Official US Coast Guard photo in the public domain.

 

 

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A LCT  (Landing Craft, Tank) and an US Coast Guard-manned boat operating off Normandy, France, June 1944; note jeep vehicles on board the LCT. (photo courtesy of the US National Archives and in the public domain)

Many landing craft and small boats were manned by US Coast Guardsmen both in the European Theater and the Pacific Theater.

 

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“From Coast Guard-manned “sea-horse” landing craft, American troops leap forward to storm a North African beach during final amphibious maneuvers.” James D. Rose, Jr., ca. 1944. 26-G-2326. National Archives Identifier: 513171.  Official US Coast Guard photo in the public domain.

 

 

USCG Guadalcanal

World War Two: US Marines show their appreciation to the Coast Guard during the invasion of Guam 21 July 1944 – 10 August 1944. Guam is part of the Marianas islands which lie to the east of the Philippines and to the south-south-east of Japan. The United States Navy captured Guam from the Kingdom of Spain on 21 June 1898 during the Spanish–American War.  Official US Coast Guard photo in the public domain.

 

 

Published by

Charles McCain

Charles McCain is a Washington DC based freelance journalist and novelist. He is the author of "An Honorable German," a World War Two naval epic. You can read more of his work on his website: http://charlesmccain.com/