BOSTON (AP) – The wreckage of a single-story military ship that served in World War II patrolled the waters of Alaska for decades, and on one occasion commanded a U.S. government ship led by the first black man. The Coast Guard said Thursday.
One wreck is believed to be the U.S. Revenue Hardcore Bear, which sank about 26,260 miles east of Boston in 1963 when it was being transported to Philadelphia, where it was being converted into a floating restaurant, in 2019.
But it was only in August that a team of experts looked at the evidence and concluded that they “reasonably believe” that the wreckage really was a bear at a conference in Boston.
“At the time of the bear’s disappearance, it was already recognized as a historic ship,” said Joe White of the Office of the National Marine Sanctuary.
The legend of the bear is so ingrained in the Coast Guard story that sports teams at the US Coast Guard Academy in Connecticut are named after the bear, partly in honor of the ship.
Built in 1874, the steam and cell-powered bear was purchased by the United States in 1884 to take part in the search for the ill-fated Arctic expedition led by Lt. Adolfus Greeley, a member of the U.S. Army Signal Corps.
The 190-foot bear has been patrolling the Arctic for more than four decades, conducting search and rescue operations, law enforcement operations, conducting a census of people and ships, recording geological and astronomical information, recording tides, and wheeling ships. Spent in saving.
The Coast Guard was formed in 1915 by merging the US Revenue Service with the US Life Saving Service.
“During the bear’s 40-year career in Alaska, Cutter made the most daring and successful Arctic rescue in history,” said William Thesson, an official Coast Guard Atlantic Area historian. “And when the Native Americans needed food, the bear brought it. When the stranded wheelers needed to be rescued, the bear rescued them. One hundred years ago, when thousands of Alaskan people contracted the Spanish flu during an epidemic. The bear had brought a doctor and medicine.
Thursday’s announcement coincided with the arrival in Boston of U.S. Coast Guard cutter Haley, named after the bear’s captain Michael “Hell Roaring Mike” Haley from 1886 to 1895.
Haley, an icebreaker launched in 1999, recently completed the transit of the Arctic Northwest Pass.
Born in 1839, Haley was the son of a Georgia orchard owner and a slave. Thessaly said Haley’s father sent her to Massachusetts to escape slavery.
He likened Haley, initiated by Abraham Lincoln a month before the assassination of the president, to an Old West Sheriff, whose jurisdiction covered the lower 48 states.
“Although he never identified himself as an African American during his lifetime, perhaps to avoid the prejudice he may have seen in his personal life and career, he was in fact the first person of African descent to Took over command of the ship. The US government, “said a NOAA news release.
Even after his time in the Arctic came to an end, the bear’s career continued.
The ship saw service during World War II, patrolled the waters of Greenland during World War II and helped capture a German spy ship.
Between the wars, the bear was reintroduced as a marine museum by the city of Oakland, California. Used as a movie set and purchased by Edmund Richard Bird for use in his Antarctic expeditions.
According to the NOAA, the ship was canceled in 1944 and remained in Nova Scotia until its voyage to Philadelphia ended prematurely in 1963, about 90 miles south of Cape Sable, Nova Scotia.
“The bear has served in various capacities for almost 90 years, a remarkable record for the construction of a wooden ship,” said Thesson.