The Sunken Cutter Mohawk as Art

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USCG photo, USCGC Mohawk (WPG-78) in her war paint

Some beautiful photography taken aboard the 165 foot cutter Mohawk. See the CNN report.

“The World War II ship has a rich history. Sixty-nine years ago this month, the USS Mohawk was the last vessel to radio General Dwight D. Eisenhower, later President of the U.S., informing him the weather was clearing for the D-Day invasion of Normandy.

“In May last year the USS Mohawk was blown up and sunk off the coast of Sanibel Island, to be used as an artificial reef attracting exotic marine life — including a mammoth whale shark.

“But before she was an underwater gallery, the grand old ship was an important part of the U.S. naval force, launching 14 attacks against enemy submarines in the Atlantic between 1942 and 1945.

“The 1,000 ton ship survived 14 Nazi attacks and rescued more than 300 survivors from torpedoed ships during the war.”

Thanks to Patrick for bringing this to my attention.

D-Day, 6 June 1944

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A LCVP (Landing Craft, Vehicle, Personnel) from the U.S. Coast Guard-manned USS Samuel Chase disembarks troops of the U.S. Army’s First Division on the morning of June 6, 1944 (D-Day) at Omaha Beach. USCG photograph

The Coast Guard historian has an excellent collection (broken link) of stories about the Coast Guard’s participation in the invasion. Virtually all the American made video footage you may see of the Normandy invasion was done by the Coast Guard. The Army Signal Corp lost their footage overboard.

Famous Film maker John Ford, who also filmed the attack on Midway, was in the Navy, but he landed on D-Day with Coast Guard Cameramen. The following is from: “We Shot D-Day on Omaha Beach (An Interview With John Ford)” by Pete Martin, the article first appeared in The American Legion Magazine, June 1964.

Ford was head of the Photographic Department of the Office of Strategic Services (OSS) under General “Wild Bill” Donovan. The cameramen in his unit were attached to the Coast Guard and trained for every sort of action. They could drop by parachute, land with raiders, commandos, infantry. They knew about amphibious landings. All Ford had to do was name it. They could do it. He’d hand picked his group of helpers. They were a superb team. Ford was told to head that team up and get both color and black-and-white footage of the invasion of Omaha Beach from start to finish.

“I take my hat off to my Coast Guard kids. They were impressive. They went in first, not to fight, but to photograph. They went with the troops. They were the first ones ashore.”