The Columbia Lightship
Picture provided by Patrick Wills
Going through my records I found
this old picture of Lightship Columbia (WLV
604) taken about 1969-1970 while on station off the mouth of the Columbia
River. This is what she looked like at that time as that is the time I was
stationed aboard Columbia. You can't see it in this picture but this was
taken when Columbia had two small boats. In our yard period of March 1970,
the Port small boat was removed and replaced with a rubber zodiac. The
Starboard small boat was in such bad shape the boat shoe had to be cut off
with a torch before we could swing the davits outboard. We then found she
leaked and the shaft was bent. We also found our rubber life rafts had
holes. It was a good thing the closest "near miss" was about 75 feet as
the Japanese ships homed in on our radio beacon while on "auto pilot." We
had to sound collision warnings more than once in the year I was aboard.
While aboard Columbia, I swear I painted every square inch of that ship.
Our Bosn believed idleness was a good way to lower morale so we worked 8
hours a day, 6 days a week, and stood watch 8 hours a day, seven days a
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