CGC Catenary 65606

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Our thanks to Clifford Monz for these photos


In the Winter of 1978, the crew and I were away from our home port, Gloucester City , NJ for more than 30 days. We all put in for "P" pay. You should have heard the Store Keeper, What? We all got it.  

On one mission, we were allowed to break ice throughout the night, which is not allowed by the op-plan,  because of a severe heating oil shortage in Bridgeton NJ .  The Tug DelBar was beset in the Cohansey River with a oil barge. The barge had been holed in the Rake. After making temporary repairs using shoring and de-watering the bow, Catenary proceeded slowly, breaking her way up the river in the fresh water ice. (6-10") The river was like a snake and snow covered. No navigation markers existed. When looking ahead, the river and surrounding areas appeared to be a huge snow covered field.  BMI Curtain and I extended loran lines over the river from a larger chart and got rough estimates of where the bends in the river were. On that information, we proceeded up the river without running aground. It was said that you could hear the CAT slamming the ice that night 10 miles away, which brought out many onlookers and press people towards morning. After reaching Bridgeton , NJ the next morning, the Tug Delbar invited us over for chow and later some card games. They would not do that again and teased us about it on the radio every time we saw them on the river.  

After leaving Bridgeton , we were careful to stay in the broken path so as to not create any more problems at the mouth of the river which was very shallow. When we got to the river entrance we were greeted with a 10ft high ice ridge. We had to wait until the next ebb tide

to break our way out and disperse the ice. We headed back to the Cape May area to assist the Lewes Ferry and Pilots when needed. One of the pilot boats was atop the ice off of Lewes Del when we got there.

The temperature never got above 15 degrees during our time away from home port.

The large Antenna you see on the deckhouse was placed there with approval from the powers to be for VHF communications in the lower bay in late 1977. There are many more stories like this I could share with you.

One other that I remember was working with the Pt. Batan off Five Fathom Bank. We would show tow lights and the Batan would show lights for a vessel in tow. After going through the fishing fleet we would both turn about and board the vessels we had Identified during the make believe tow job. BMCM Ira Machon was the OINC on the Batan with BMI Jimmy Davis. It was said that neither one could understand each other, Ira being from  Booth Bay Harbor Maine and Jimmy being from Beauford NC .

Catenary Crew was:  BMI Charles Curtian, MKI Chales Keller , Mk2 Andrew Mongoluzo , Sn Greg Parker, Sn Tony Swint , and myself.

The Capstan was one of the roughest jobs I've ever had. The Capstan was the SAR resource for the upper 25 miles of the Potomac River . We stayed on B-1 status most all the time. The picture in Cape May Inlet was taken by a newspaper person for a story about the CATS

missions and crew during the time away from home port. If you look offshore on the picture, you'll see a large Wind Blown Ice ridge. The ice extended offshore in places more than 10 miles that year. The other was taken at the Delaware Breakwater on the Ocean side at Lewes.

I left the Catenary in June of 1980 headed for Canaveral Station as OINC/CO when I made Warrant.

Dave Hawthorne
Melbourne , Florida

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Retired Catenary - joins the Merchant Marine Academy, renamed "Growler"

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Our thanks to Ed Hickman and Kyle Fries from the USMMA for their contribution. To learn more about the USMMA Click