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Coxswain Richard Allen Cleveland


Seaman 1st Class Alton Bee Cleveland


The U. S. Coast Guard, one of the nation's armed forces, has seen combat with
the enemy in virtually every conflict fought by the United States. World War II saw the Coast Guard come to grips with the empire of Japan as well as the armed might of Nazi Germany. This included going into action against Hitler's vaunted submarines, nicknamed "hearses." During the war the U.S. Navy credited Coast Guard forces with sinking or assisting in the sinking of thirteen of Hitler's U-boats. The Navy also credited Coast Guard warships with sinking one Japanese submarine although they probably sank two. Coast Guardsmen captured two Nazi surface vessels at sea during the war and can take pride in knowing that they were the only United States' service to do so during World War II.

Small cutters made history by fighting and sinking U-boats right off the coast of the United States. One of these cutters, the U.S.S. Icarus, C.G., sank the U-352 and then rescued the surviving crewman. The crewman of the Icarus have the distinction of being the first U.S. servicemen to capture German prisoners of war in World War II.

Cutters and their crews gained international notoriety during a number of combat actions in the North Atlantic and in the waters off Greenland and Iceland. The U.S.S. Spencer, C.G., one of the Treasury Class cutters, attacked and sank the U-175 in the open Atlantic. This action was unique in that two combat photographers caught the battle on film, providing an unmatched visual record for posterity of the destruction of one of Hitler's vaunted U-boats and the rescue of its crew. Some of the Spencer's crew actually boarded the stricken submarine, becoming the first U.S. servicemen to board an enemy warship that was under way at sea since the War of 1812.

On May 12, 1942, the USS Spencer and her crew rescued 52 survivors from the St. Cristales and the SS Mont Parnes. The Spencer is also credited with the sinking of the German U-225 on February 21, 1943 and U-175 on April 17, 1943; with the loss of one crew member due to gunfire and the rescue of 22 U-boat survivors. For the remainder of 1943 and half of 1944 the Spencer was an escort vessel for convoys traversing the North Atlantic. During this duty the Spencer participated in more engagements than any other American vessel.

For prisoner information following the sinking of the U-175 on April 17, 1943, or further details of other outstanding Coast Guard engagements during WWII the link below may be of help.

The WW II Data Base

    First German Prisoners


A tale begun in other days, when summer suns were glowing ~


            A simple chime that served to time
            the rhythm of our rowing ~

              +++++++ 2003 +++++++