The War YearsLike all true, upstanding Americans, Curlew did its part!
The Military Years-1940 to 1960
There are in fact two slightly different accounts of this period, the first, passed on by previous owners, which states she was donated to the Merchant Marine Academy, Kings Point, in January of 1940, and then subsequently transferred to USCG Group New London, in 1944 and Cape May NY in 1948.
From an official USCG Document 5750, we find Curlew was recorded as donated on the 31st of January 1940 to the US Coast Guard Academy at New London CT for the grand sum of $1.00. Here she served as a sail-training vessel and saw coastal submarine patrol duty for the Coast Guard during WWII. Her USCG Number was CG-65016.
The document goes on to report that on January 8th, 1951 Curlew was transferred to the USCG recruit training center, Cape May, New Jersey. There the Curlew weathered nine years of countless recruits bounding over her decks learning basic seamanship. She was decommissioned at the age of 35, on May 26, 1960.
While undocumented, Curlew was reported to have participated in the Coastal Picket Force doing sub patrol duty.
A 2011 conversation with Lieutenant Donald H. Treadwell
LT Treadwell was a Commanding Officer LST on Okinawa, who also served as a Coast Guard Academy Instructor, and sailed on Curlew during the period, 1942- 1944. Don also told me about two other schooners that were also part of the Academy fleet. They were;
The 58′ Teragram, (Margaret spelled backwards) a 1929 Alden designed schooner, built in the Dauntless Shipyard for George W. Mixter author of the Primer of Navigation. Ironically I tried to buy Teragram in 1992, she was in Maui, but she ended up on the a reef and was lost.
The famous schooner Atlantic, a 227 foot, William Gardner design, and who in 1905 with the Americas Cup skipper, Charlie Barr at the helm, won the Kaiser Cup a transatlantic race between Sandy Hook NJ and Cornwall, UK.
Don has promised to write down some stories about his time on the Curlew and will share it with us in the future.
Recollections from Joshua Sparrow, Cape May N.J.
I sailed for a day as CO. Commander of M19, at Cape May Boot Camp where I trained from Dec. 27 1951 to March 19, 1952. Of course it was the middle of winter and the honor company’s were treated to a day at sail, weather provided out of Cape May Harbor into the Atlantic. My recollections are that a BM1 was the Petty Officer in Charge and he would prep the riding sailors, assign details for the day and off we went. The Atlantic even near the mouth of Delaware in Jan. and Feb. high winded and choppy seas. Enjoyed the day immensely.
Pictures from William (Bill) Theel, (below)
Bill sailed on Curlew in 1954, when every boot camp company got to go out for a one day training exercise.
L-R Bill Theel; Dodson; Chaplains father
R – Bill Theel stands on Curlew’s stern with Chaplin,
2 USCG officers, Smith Kweder
A note from Robert Nogueira
Robert, who spent a week on Curlew in late 1956 or early 1957, recalls she was still being used as part of a basic training program, and further he reports that he had been told that in 1960, she was even sailed by President Kennedy. (This has not been confirmed)
Recollections from Robert Beare, Cape May N.J.
I served in the U.S.C.G. in Cape May N.J. from September 1954 to 1958. Upon completing boot camp I was chosen to become a seamanship instructor at the boat docks. I was assigned to the Curlew as a seaman in 1955. During this period my rank was 3rd Class Boatswain mate and I worked with 1st Class Boatswain Mate Preston Mason. Approximately 1956, Preston Mason was reassigned to North Carolina. With my comprehensive knowledge of sailing I was asked to skipper the Curlew. I accepted this offer and stayed in charge until my discharge in 1958. During this time period my seamen and I completely refurbished the boat. My commanding officer Arnold Peterson and I took the boat to Dorchester Shipyard where the keel was removed and new bolts and hardware were installed. The hull was then refinished. Upon our return to Cape May all new standing rigging for the boat was accomplished by Arnold and myself. New sails were also installed along with a new power plant, a Detroit 6-71 engine. I continued to sail the Curlew for recruit training until discharge.
March, 1959 – a memory from Joseph St Jean
USCG FOXTROT company was chosen to march in a John Foster Dulles memorial event. (United States Secretary of State under President Dwight D. Eisenhower from 1953 to 1959, he died in May of 59) The company had 104 recruits but only 96 recruits could participate in the event. I and 7 other recruits were assigned to the Curlew for a work duty. We holystoned (a soft and brittle sandstone) the deck for four and a half days and enjoyed a three hour sail Friday afternoon. The sail was a great reward for the hours of holystoning the deck.
Larry Bowers Remembers 1960
AS A BOOT IN THE FALL OF 1960 I DREAMED OF GOING OUT ON THE CURLEW FOR TRAINING. I WOULD SEE HERE EVERY DAY AND HOPED I WOULD HAVE A CHANCE TO SAIL ON HER. UNFORTUNATELY I DID NOT HAVE THAT PLEASURE. WE HAD TO KEEP HER “SPIT AND POLISHED” AS WELL AS BRUSH THE SNOW OFF HER DECK UNTIL WE GRADUATED IN DECEMBER OF 60.