Memories from Joseph Verba (LV 108 / 1947 to 1949)
~ I was assigned and served on the Five Fathom Bank Lightship LV-108 for over 2 years, from January 24,1947 to March 3,1949. Our ship's radio and call sign was Nan, Nan, Baker, Love (NNBL) and we sent out radio beacon signal Dot,Dot,Dash, Dash .
Our skipper was Chief Boatswain Mate, Irwin T. Yost. We received our mail and supplies by 38 foot picket boat out of Hereford Inlet Lifeboat Station, North Wildwood, N.J. (Radio call Nan Mike King-13) NMK-13, and /or by 83 foot Patrol boat out of Cape May, N.J. Base (Radio call Nan Mike King) and or by USCGC Gentian, Bouy Tender(WLB 290)
We had 4 hours on and 8 hours off watches and we experienced a lot of very bad storms and close calls by ships bearing down on us by our radio beacon in the fog. We did not have Radar on board to plot those ships in the fog, and we had steam fog horns which were not very loud and we had a large bell on the bow of the ship. The ship was fitted with air horns later at the USCG Yard, Curtis Bay, Md.
I learned from your web site that the ship was scrapped in Norfolk, Va. in 1975 My name is Joseph Verba and I was Seaman 1/C and we worn Navy uniforms in those days(Had a white shield sewn on our right forearm of our uniform, which designated USCG) ( Not the blue uniforms that the Coasties wear today)
I enlisted in 1946 in Cleveland, Ohio and had boot camp and advanced training in Mayport, Florida Base in those days. I doubt if any of my shipmates are alive today as I am 80 years old now.
My memory is not too bad ad this age, but I can recall in all of those years that I saw some very close calls by ships bearing down on us while sounding alarm and getting everyone topside with life jackets on. I'll always remember the name on the ship, Santa Olivia , New York on her stern as she passed by our bow.
I will also remember the sound of the mushroom anchor chain snapping in the hausepipe in a very bad storm . and especially when the bow went down and then popped back up snapping the chain and the sudden jerk of the ship.. She took a lot of Ocean but always popped back up.
Assigned over 2 years, I remember some names: Cook 2/C Joe Frasenelli, Pottsville , Pa. Seaman 1/C Roco Constable, Hazelton, Pa, Seaman 1/C John Johnson, Westerville, Ohio, Fireman 2/C Quinton Long, Mobile Alabama, and Machinist Mate 2/C Joseph Powers.
I wonder what happened to the ship's log books after the ship was scrapped? I sure wrote a lot in that log while on all of those watches....Have to sign off now...........I now live in Ocala, Florida and my email address is : Jv5361@ aol.com
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© 2009 USCG Lightship Sailors Association International Inc. Larry Ryan, President