History‎ > ‎

History of Flotilla

A SHORT HISTORY OF USCGA FLOTILLA 22-01

    By Henrietta Schavran, Historian, Flotilla 22-01                            10 FEB 2010
 
The Beginnings
 

The history of Flotilla 22-01 goes back to the beginnings of the U.S. Coast Guard Auxiliary.  In June 1939, Congress passed the Coast Guard Reserve and Auxiliary Act that created a non-military volunteer organization to promote safety on the water and to assist the Coast Guard in peacetime missions.  With the war situation accelerating in Europe, Congress proclaimed a national emergency in September 1939.  In February 194l, Congress changed the name of the Coast Guard Reserve to the Coast Guard Auxiliary, and Reservists became military personnel.  In May 1941, an Unlimited National Emergency was declared.

 

During this time, the Neutrality Patrol was formed to patrol coastal waters and guard against submarine and other activities dangerous to the United States.  With the desperate need for vessels to help enforce our neutrality, donations were requested for private boats that could be used for coastal patrols.

 

Our Flotilla, designated as 8E Flotilla 12-04, was formed in 1940, with F. J. Kraisel serving as Commander and Walter Stacey as Vice Commander.  The Flotilla consisted of seven members only. Our first meeting was held at Coast Guard headquarters in New York City on  November 7, 1940.  During 194l, the Auxiliarists were being prepared for navigation exams and to qualify for patrol duty certificates.  With the imminence of  war, a recruitment program was begun that resulted  in an immediate enrollment of 80 more members.

 
1941-1945 World War II
 

The Day of Infamy brought us to active warfare on December 7, 194l.  Wesley Oliver was elected Flotilla Commander in 1942; he served in 1943, 1944, and 1945.  Because the Coast Guard needed Chief Petty Officers to be in charge of patrol vessels, they appointed Auxiliasts as officers in charge of patrol vessels to oversee the necessary Flotilla patrol operations.  Commander Oliver and other North Shore Flotilla commanders were appointed as officers in the Reserves.

 

According to Commander Oliver, prior to its days of active patrols, our Flotilla made surveys of the North Coast of Long Island that resulted in the posting and plotting of 42 observer sites. These observer sites could be  manned in the event of emergency to  communicate by visual signals from Orient Point to Lloyd Point.

 

During the War, many of our Flotilla's Auxiliarists donated their boats to the Coast Guard for patrol duties on Long Island Sound.  Sailboats were especially desired, since they operated under sail, making no sound and needing  no fuel.  Flotilla 12-04 boats patrolled the Sound from Great Captains Island to Stratford Shoals Light.  Smaller boats (under 50’)   were usually assigned 24 hours weekly duty.  According to Arthur Johnson,  record keeper for the Flotilla during the War, and confirmed by newspaper articles, during August 1942 alone, more than 20 boats  donated over 1000 hours of patrol duty, while the Auxiliarists who manned these boats gave over 5000 hours in that month alone! 


One of these boats, the 35' boat SNARK was donated to our Flotilla by Sherman K. Fairfield on May 28, 1943.

   

Larger boats (50' and over) that were donated to the Coast Guard became a part of the “Picket Patrol” (sometimes called Hooligans Navy).  These boats were used for offshore patrols. Many were modified to protect their super structures in stormy seas and were fitted with metal or oak sheathing at the water line to protect the wooden hulls from ice damage during winter patrols. Manned by Coast Guard Reservists, these vessels observed and reported any suspected activity of enemy submarines that were numerous along our coasts.  One of our famous local Picket Patrol boats, sailing out of Greenport, L.I., was ZAIDA, a beautiful sloop which endured harrowing hardships and was dramatically rescued just before Christmas, 1942.  It still sails out of  Huntington Harbor, gracing the waters of Long Island Sound.

 

On September 1943, the Navy cancelled all Auxiliary patrols and Flotilla personnel were assigned to shore duty at the Eatons  Neck Station.  At war’s end, temporary reservists were disenrolled as of September 30, 1945, having satisfactorily completed their duties. Of these, 47 Flotilla members had been in the Reserve ranks.  The following year, they were honored with a Victory Medal.

 

 In 1945, while awaiting orders regarding the organization and responsibilities of the Flotilla in peace time, our Flotilla members created "A DAY AFLOAT” for wounded veterans.  On their first outing, they hosted 20 patients from St. Albans Naval Hospital on member’s boats.

 

1946-1960
 
In 1946 and 1947, the Flotilla established its  Courtesy Motor Boat Examination (CME) Program for the general public..  Also actively encouraged was the expansion of Flotilla membership.  An unusual occurrence  in October 1946 called for the Flotilla’s participation. While returning to sea, a 62’ finback whale become stranded in Huntington Harbor where it perished.

 

In 1949 and 1950, the Flotilla began its free public education program.  On June 12, 1949, our Flotilla participated in celebrating the Tenth Anniversary of the founding of the Coast Guard Auxiliary.  On that day, Governor Thomas Dewey and New York City Mayor O’Dwyer honored the Auxiliary’s wartime accomplishments, and peacetime contributions, by designating June 23 as Coast Guard Auxiliary Day.

 

With the population explosion in our area during the 1950s, and the ensuing increase in recreational boating, the work of the Auxiliary became more vital. The Flotilla launched a Safe Boating Drive, focusing on public education (PE), and courtesy moat boat exams(CME).  In 1955, an  addition to the CME Program was the Vessel Examiner’s Guide.  Also successful was the expansion of the drive to recruit new members.  


In 1958, the Flotilla participated in the first National Safe Boating Week.  National Safe Boating Week has since been proclaimed by the President as an annual event.

 

1960's-1970's
 
Highlights of activities of our Flotilla in the 1960s and 1970s included the introduction of  Project AIM,  the expansion of public education, including lessons to school children,  and vessel examination activities.  PE classes were expanded to 8 sessions, and the 57-page Safe Boating Manual, covering all aspects of safe boating, was published. The year1961 was the beginning of official Auxiliary Patrol Orders, and vessels were equipped with citizen band radios, as was at the Coast Guard Station.  The Flotilla’s first Land Station Facility began operation in 1963.  In 1967-68, the inauguration of the Blessing of the Fleet became a tremendous success with the boating public.

 

In 1968, Division XII, which covered areas from Queens to mid-Suffolk County, was split, and our Flotilla became part of the new Division XIX.  Our Flotilla was now known as Flotilla 19-01.  During these years, the Annual Blessing of the Fleet became so successful that at one point, over 1000 recreational boats participated in this event!

 

With the continued increase in public boating and increased number of Flotillas, in 1974 Division XIX was split and Division XXII EATONS NECK, consisting of nine Flotillas, was formed .   Our Flotilla became Flotilla 22-01, encompassing the  Huntington area. Huntington Yacht Club had been the Flotilla’s meeting place since World War II; it now became its official meeting place.

 

In 1976, the Flotilla had 4 boats and 8 members participate in OPERATION SAIL, New York’s Bicentennial  Celebration.  Our Flotilla also made the Directors Honor Roll for its participation in the event.  


Our membership increased dramatically and by the 1990s, we had a large membership that included a number of husband-wife teams that participated in safety patrols, public education, vessel examinations, social functions, and other Flotilla activities.   

 

Modern Era
 
Flotilla 22-01 continues to participate in special events, such as Tall Ships parades, and the celebration of the anniversary of the Brooklyn Bridge.  Our public education program has grown tremendously; we offer  evening classes for adults and young boaters as well as one-day and two half-day classes.   We have received many awards for Vessel Examination, Marine Visitation and other programs.  Our Crew and Coxwain Training Program has brought forth a high number of qualified Flotilla crew and coxwains..  And many in the Flotilla are AUXOP members. One of our Flotilla member, Bruno Soccolich, was honored by the Eatons Neck Coast Guard with a permanent bench in his name as a memorial for his extraordinary contributions.  Many members are involved in the Eatons Neck Station Augmentation Program, to assist  Coast Guard personnel in all aspects of their work.  . 

 

The year 2010, marks the 70th anniversary of our existence, first as Flotilla 12-04, then 19-01, and now as Flotilla 22-01.  We are proud to be one of the oldest active flotillas in the USA. 

As of February 2010, our Flotilla consists of 59 members with  an additional four applicants being  processed for membership.  Flotilla 22-01 members look forward to another year of challenging and enjoyable activities as we assist the Coast Guard to protect our country..
 
Semper Paratus!
 
 
 
 
List of Flotilla Commanders (1940 - Present)
 
Flotilla 12-04 (1940-1967):
 
F. J. Kraisel                1940-1941
E. Wesley Oliver         1942-1945
L. Sorenson                1946-1947
(Unknown FC)            1948
A. H. Johnson             1949-1950
C. Bowie                    1951-1952
G. V. Mohr                 1953-1954
F. B. Duntz                 1955
E. J. Ditmar                 1956-1957
J. B. Bashioun             1958-1959
V. F. Flood                 1960-1961
J. G. Cooper               1962
D. Lynn                       1963
J. Smith                       1964
S. P. Brush                  1965-1966
H. Kotler                     1967
 
Flotilla 19-01 (1968-1973):
 
H. Kotler                     1968
Steve Wagner              1969-1970
J. Straub                      1971-1972
J. Phraner                    1973
 
Flotilla 22-01 (1974-Present):
 

J. Phraner                         1974

J. Gibbons                        1975-1976

Alexander Onyskia            1977-1978

Ralph Karnault                    1979

John Phraner, Sr.              1980

Henry Krigsman                  1981-1982

William Litt                        1983-1984

Robert W. Smith               1985-1986

Frederick Melensky           1987

Michael D'Auria                 1988-1989

Walter Holmgren               1990-1991

Saul Federman                 1992-1994

Kenneth Fuchsman           1995-1996

Bruce Fellner                    1997-1998

Robert Borneman              1999-2000

John Knipper                     2001-2002

Anthony Wuestman           2003-2004

Anthony Schwally              2005-2006

John Scannello                  2007-2008

Zac Steinbrecher               2009-2010

Robert Kent                       2011-2012

Henrietta Schavran           2013-2014

Theresa Kinch                   2015-2016

Richard Rothamel             2017-2018   

 
 
Comments