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Ocean Station: The on station grid or Oscar-Sierria was a ten by ten mile square of water. The "whole station" was 110 miles square and allowed for some wandering around.Most Cutter Skippers considered the number of days in grid O/S as a mark of their ships and crews performance (and sometimes "endurance".) The primary duties of the Station Cutters was to provide weather observation, navigational assistance to transoceanic aircraft and be a ready SAR asset for ships and planes crossing the ocean.Today's High Tech world has forgotten the many things that could go wrong with long range travel.Even well into the 60's Cutters were called upon to provide assistance to vessels in distress. I recently was lurking through the Point-Counterpoint discussion board on Fred's Place and saw a topic with 176 entries.Having made many weather patrols during my 27 year Coast Guard career, it piqued my interest.I know they served their crews well and also survived a bit longer than the original builders would have imagined. John's the troops were always advised to find them one of the really plump gals and stay away from the skinny ones.
If you only had four, then most likely you had a GTMO, and maybe lucked into two Bermuda SAR Standby trips or made the "kiddie cruise".The 311 was a comfy ship as far as the berthing areas.Probably the best of the three (older ships) in my mind.They rode OK in a head sea if it wasn't especially rough.They were awful in beam and quarter or drifting on station. The 311's had twice as many WTD's as the 327's and the combings were higher (knee knockers) They were noisy and always smelled of Deisel Fuel inside and out. There are some guys out there who can tell a lot more about the Lake class than I can.Many of us can count in years the time we spent on the various stations, just living with our routine.It is a far cry from the major Coast Guard sea going activities of today.One of the high points (I use the term loosely) of OWS duty was the standard manila highline drill between relieving and relieved - mail, movies, etc. I never got over the sense of humor they had by calling the bar that, you almost wanted to cringe.This particular time, The Taney had a "little trouble" with their steering gear, and all hell broke loose. You literally walked through a mushroom cloud shaped doorway to get in.He sent me permission and I undertook making several revisions to it.Because the writers only were identified by their email addresses I decided to purge the names from the material as well as most references to each other.