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Nineteen Eighty-Three (1983), some 38 years after the end of WWII, the time was right to reconnect with old friends, friends they had made protecting the world from tyrants, on a ship called INGHAM. The men from the INGHAM had raised their families, Ronald Regan was President and Patriotism was back. As a nation we had again become the "city upon a hill—the eyes of all people are upon us". The time had come to reunite and go visit their special lady, the "Mighty I", so the planning for a 1984 reunion began.  

The process to reunite with fellow shipmates began with a yellowing, 12-page document labeled "Name, serial or service number, rank or rate and home of all officers and enlisted men aboard the USCGC INGHAM as of 1, July 1945". Out of the 307 names on the document, 178 were contacted by mail or phone regarding the reunion. Each INGHAM sailor contacted was then asked to spread the word to their close friends. The 1st reunion organizers were Donald Balsly, Russell Burkhard, William Henderson, Frances Balsly, and Lucy Burkhard.

  • 1984
    The first reunion of the "Mighty I" guardsmen was held on August 7 ,8 & 9, 1984 in Portsmouth, VA. The first day on August 7, 1984 was "Get Reacquainted Day", August 8, 1984 was INGHAM Day which included a tour of INGHAM and an "Old Timers Cruise" in the bay with lunch on the Fantail, before returning to port. August 9, 1984 was "Organization And Memorabilia Day" ending with a evening banquet with guest speaker, Dr. R.L. Scheina, USGC Historian. In attendance were 87 INGHAM sailors and 58 guest/wives for a total of 145. The first officers of the Association were: John Waters, President, Gerald Ballard, Vice-President and John Cummings, Secretary-Treasurer. Also special recognition was given to the Active USCG Officers for their assistance and cooperation in making the first reunion a great success; Rear Admiral James G. Lipscomb III, USCG Reserve, Commander David K. Carey, recent Commanding Officer USCGC INGHAM, Commander George F. Martin, Commanding Officer, USCGC INGHAM, Dr. R.L. Scheina, USCG Historian. After the 1st Reunion, by-laws were established, officers elected and a newsletter called "Gobs Gab" was initiated, thus establishing the USCGC INGHAM Association. The by-laws called for biannual reunions and support for the USCGC INGHAM (WHEC-35).
  • 1986
    In September of 1986, INGHAM observed her 50th birthday and the INGHAM Association Secretary-Treasurer, Bob Carter was in attendance at the birthday party in Portsmouth representing the Association. The INGHAM Association purchased and Bob Carter presented to Commander Brennan and the crew a large shield-shaped plaque with an engraved picture of the forward 5/38 in action in the Philippine Islands. It was so well done that several of the crewman could be identified. The Association received a very striking color picture of the INGHAM which was reproduced for each member. In 1985, INGHAM became the Oldest Active American Warship and was entitled to wear gold hull numbers . Also in 1986, the Second Biannual INGHAM Association Reunion was held with speaker Rear Admiral Howard B. Thorsen in attendance. At the second reunion, the Association had 77 shipmates present, along with a nice group of wives and invited guests.
  • 1988
    In early spring 1988, in a surprise to many, the "Mighty I" was to be decommissioned. It was a surprise since J.S. Gracey, Admiral, Commandant of the U.S. Coast Guard in 1985 wrote "the INGHAM would be kept in active service until 1990". On May 27, 1988 the USCGC INGHAM (WHEC 35) was decommissioned. The Decommissioning Ceremony was held in Portsmouth, Virginia and was attended by many of the INGHAM Association members. There were immediate discussions on the need preserve the ship as a museum. It was John Waters, Judge William Henderson and a group of INGHAM veterans who went to Congress and petitioned successfully that the Cutter INGHAM should be a museum and the Coast Guards WWII Memorial. The decommissioning of the INGHAM can be viewed on YouTube. In summer of 1988, the House version of HR 4794 contained a provision, sought by Democrat Robert J. Mrazek, N.Y., to base the decommissioned Ingham at the Intrepid Sea-Air-Space Museum in New York City. The vessel, which had a colorful military history, was of much interest to maritime buffs. But the Senate wanted the cutter displayed at Patriots Point Naval and Maritime Museum near Charleston, SC. so there was no agreement on the bill. Also, there were many members of the association that wanted the ship closer to her station port of Norfolk, VA, so a ballot was sent to the members to ascertain where the majority wanted the ship, in New York or in South Carolina. As a result of the urging of Sen. Ernest Hollings, Dem-SC the house bill went back to the House which accepted the Senate position without debate on September 28, 1988. As a result of this vote, "SEC. 203. The Secretary of the department in which the Coast Guard is operating shall transfer the Coast Guard cutter INGHAM to the Naval and Maritime Museum at Patriots Point, South Carolina. The Secretary shall transfer the INGHAM along with such equipment and in such condition as the Secretary considers appropriate. The Secretary shall make the transfer upon the decommissioning of the INGHAM or at a later time as determined appropriate by the Secretary. Approved November 23, 1988." The INGHAM Association held its 3rd Biannual reunion in Norwich, Connecticut on September 26th, 27th, 28th and 29th About 150 dedicated persons attended the 4-day event including Karl Zittel, Class of 1932, a WWII CO of INGHAM 1944-1946. Captain Zittel was the principal speaker, plus John Waters, Class of 1943, who told of his WWII experiences on the INGHAM. It was interesting to note that the current officers of the Ingham Association all served as non-rated seamen aboard INGHAM during WWII. It had become official the USCGC would become a Museum at Patriots Point as the bill was passed on September 29, 1988. Now the work began to make the museum. A call was made to all members: "Needed — Uniforms & Memorabilia for ex-Cutter INGHAM CAPT John M . Waters (Ret), '43. The former USCGC INGHAM which is being permanently preserved at Patriots Point Naval and Maritime Museum, Mt. Pleasant, SC, will be opened to the public in the spring of 1990. In addition to an extensive photographic and art exhibit about all the 327' cutters, uniformed manikins depicting seagoing life as it was during INGHAM' 52 year career, will be placed in the various compartments of the ship. The USCGC INGHAM Association, which is underwriting the exhibit is urgently in need of uniforms and accessories (ribbons, shoulder boards, etc.) for the manikins. These include: Officer's and CPO uniforms, khaki, white, and blue (both Navy and Bender blue); enlisted uniforms, khaki, white, blue (both Navy and Bender blue), and dungarees; foul weather jackets; caps and cap covers of all types (including overseas); one sword (one manikin will be in frock coat and cocked hat). There will also be glass display cases for exhibits of both Cutter and Destroyer Escort (DE) memorabilia on the mess deck and main berth deck. These will feature articles of historic or human interest. Uniforms should be male sizes 36 to 42. If you are willing to contribute uniforms or items of interest for this memorial to a gallant group of ships and men who have sailed and fought in the past half-century, send a letter or card describing what you wish to donate, to: CAPT John M. Waters, USCG (Ret) Historian, INGHAM Association 65 Winterbourne North Orange Park, FL 32073 If your items are needed for the displays, shipping instructions will be provided. The Association is also preparing a shipboard photographic and painting exhibit depicting the life and history of the Treasury Class 327' cutters. Photos of 327's in action during their days as amphibious command ships are urgently needed, as are action shots of these ships in Viet Na m and during the Mariel Exodus. Photos should be 4x6 inches (minimum), suitable for enlargement, and should be accompanied by a written caption describing where, when and what the photo is about If you have such photos, send them to CAP T John M . Waters, Historian, INGHAM Association, 65 Winterbourne North, Orange Park, F L 32073. Ample WWII and peacetime action photos of the 327s are already on hand and no more are needed. The Destroyer Escort Sailor's Association (DESA) has adopted INGHAM as its representative ship, and its Carolina chapters have undertaken to provide working parties of veterans for maintenance and improvement work on the ship. Coast Guard vets wishing to participate should contact Mr. Chuck Waldrop, Executive Director of the Museum.
  • 1989
    During the week of August 21, 1989, the Coast Guard Cutter INGHAM was finally scheduled to arrive at Patriots Point, SC. Donald L. Balsly, President of the 300 member USCGC INGHAM Association was quoted, "We are all very excited about it, we have been working for this for quite some time. We were very much in hope that she would be coming to Patriots Point." A dedication ceremony was held on September 14, 1989. Also that year, the INGHAM on September 22, 1989 survived Hurricane Hugo, however with some damage. It was reported that the INGHAM and COMANCHE were anchored with their bows toward the weather, secured by tripled-up lines against the pier. During the height of the storm the COMANCHE broke loose enough to swing around and smash repeatedly into INGHAM leaving her with a dent, as well as losing considerable paint from the abrasion. It was noted by Captain John Waters, the Ambassador at Large that he was making great progress with the photo display for the museum and thanked those who sent photographs, uniforms and memorabilia but they were still in need of manikins and more uniforms. The museum was being built, designed and supplied entirely by the INGHAM Association.
  • 1990
    The Association in 1990 thanked all the members that had sent money for the repair of the ship caused by Hurricane Hugo. Also, to date, 107 members have donated $2712.50 to the USCGC INGHAM EXHIBIT AND MEMORIAL FUND, however we still need approximately $3700 for additional frames, pictures and manikins. In addition to John Waters and all his efforts to get the museum completed, Avner Dare, Roberta and his entire family for their efforts in building platforms display areas as well as accumulating and logging in all the uniforms, trivia and paraphernalia that is being placed on the ship at Patriots Point. It was also reported in the June newsletter, that 156 members generously gave $5,882.50 toward the Exhibit and Memorial Fund. John Waters had purchased, enlarged, etched on metal and hung many pictures; purchased manikins; acquired modes of the ship in her WWII configurations in the Atlantic and Pacific. He also prepared the wardroom and sick bay as display sites, secured many uniforms, replaced the sound amplifier and acquired three automatic tape players. Avner Dare and his family renovated several areas on the ship including the 1st Class Petty Officer Quarter and the ship's store. The outside of the ship has also been painted. The 1990 biannual reunion was held on October 15, 16, 17 and 18 at the Mount Pleasant Holiday Inn, Charleston, SC. The reunion was set to coincide with the Grand Opening of the INGHAM at Patriots Point at 11:00am on Tuesday, October 16th. The 4th Reunion had an outstanding attendance of members and a dance was held after the banquet dinner. Commander Vice Admiral Howard Thorsen was the guest speaker.
  • 1991
    It came to the attention of the INGHAM Association that the "Vessel Donation Agreement" did not compel Patriots Point to repair, maintain or preserve INGHAM to any particular standard, either U.S. Coast Guard or otherwise. Nor does it require Patriots Point to assure the U.S. Coast Guard that INGHAM would be displayed with equal attention as that of the other ships in the Museum. Now that the Association was fully aware of what the document does and does not say, the USCGC INGHAM Association recognizes it has no legal attachment or responsibility to or with Patriots Point or the Cutter INGHAM. However it is obvious that our membership feels a certain "grandfather attachment" of pride and concern for the INGHAM's welfare. Staying within the means available and limits permitted, our Association should do all it can to help maintain, repair and preserve INGHAM such as giving Patriots Point $300 to construct a protective fender for INGHAM. The Association was very surprised in 1991 to learn there were new Exhibit Guidelines regarding the INGHAM. In 1989, when the INGHAM entered the Museum at Patriots Point it was operating on diminished funds and work force, so they opted to "allow" our Association freedom to fund and build all the exhibits without their normal guidelines, especially since the grand opening was fast approaching. The great results seen on opening day of the INGHAM Museum were entirely because of the hard work and funds supplied by the INGHAM Association members. In particular, Aver and Roberta Dave and their family, Captain John and Jean Waters, Don and Fran Balsly, Dean and Marie Colbert and Bob & Phyllis Carter, without them there would be no museum. Now that a great deal has been completed by the Association, Patriots Point now want us to be restricted in our efforts and must obey by their new rules. We had very little choice in the matter. The new rules are: anything donated to the Association must be donated to Patriots Point or picked up by 1992 reunion. The membership is being asked to vote by ballot on what to do with all the equipment and items purchased with association funds. Since the association has little use for the items, as we have no place to put them, it is best to turn it over to Patriots Point. They also wanted the INGHAM Association to have a fee assessment of $10,000, to be paid as a sponsoring group of the exhibit. We expressed the opinion that such an assessment was entirely out of line, in view of the recent audit reflecting that the Association had already expended $11,578.87 in preparing the exhibits and that several thousands of dollars worth of free labor was supplied by the volunteers of the INGHAM Association. In 1991 the USCGC INGHAM Association had 470 members.
  • 1992
    On March 25, 1992, by letter of agreement the INGHAM Association had complied with the transfer requirements and conveyed all but two members donations as required by Patriots Point. The value of the items involved and labor freely donated to built the museum involves many thousands of dollars. But no sum of money can compare to the pride the Association takes in knowing what our contributions created. All the support and contributes have make the Coast Guard Cutter the star attraction at Patriots Point. As of April 1, 1992, the INGHAM Roster had 453 members, which included 30 widows, 91 life members and 6 honoraries. On June 16, 1992 the INGHAM Association filed for a tax exemption as a non-profit under Section 501 C (19). Also in 1992 the U.S. Park Service announced that the USCGC INGHAM met the requirements for entry into the National Registry. Such recognition thereby allows INGHAM to be designated a National Historic Treasure. The dedication into the National Registry by the Park Service took place on Wednesday, October 21, 1992 during the association reunion. The 5th Reunion of USCGC INGHAM Association was held October 19-October 23 at the Holiday Inn at Mt. Pleasant, South Carolina, which consisted of the usual fare of buffet breakfasts and an awards banquet with a keynote speaker. The Association in 1992 started a Scholarship program for one high school student and one college student, based on a 500-1000 word essay, the topic "The Role of the Coast Guard in WWII" with an award of $1000, each. The scholarships would be awarded for the 1994 school year.
  • 1993
    As was discussed at the Associations meeting at Patriots Point in October, the Association will award a medal to an individual who has made significant contribution to INGHAM, INGHAM Association or the Coast Guard in general. The award will be made in the name Captain John M. Waters, Jr. to commemorate his contributions and outstanding qualities as an individual. The president, vice-president and members of the Board of Directors will select the individual to whom this award is made. The medal will be awarded at the banquet associated with each reunion so those who made significant contributions to our ship and association can be recognized. It was reported in 1993 by the Avner Dare's family that the wooden decks on the INGHAM were failing and need immediate repair.
  • 1994
    There is good news and bad news from the Dare family, the good news is that deck repair work had begun on the port quarter. The bad news is that the new management of Patriots Points allows week-end sleepovers on the ship. Sometime over the weekend of February 4th to 7th there was a break-in to a exhibit cabin. Dinner silver ware was thrust into the heads of the manikins and Admiral Thorsen hat was stolen. Hopefully management will get better control and replace the stolen and damaged items which were all donated by the association members. The 1994 biennial reunion was held August 3rd to 7th at Grand Haven, Michigan. It was scheduled to be in time for Coast Guard Day on August 4th in a place know as Coast Guard City, where a Coast Guard Festival is held every year. The Festival unofficially began in 1924 as a Coast Guard Personnel Picnic where the local Coast Guard Station held rowing competitions for those service members stationed at Grand Haven. The first official festival began in 1937. In August 1971 the event was officially recognized as the Grand Haven Coast Guard Festival, Inc. and as a 501(c)3 charitable organization. At the reunion, the second set of the distinguished, Captain John M. Waters Jr. Medals were issued. The highly deserving recipients were: Olaf (Bud) Veath and Dean Colbert. The first two medals were given in 1992 to Avner and Roberta Dare. Also the Memorial Plaque dedicated to Captain Waters was completed and unveiled at the 1994 reunion. The plaque itself will be mounted in the display room on board INGHAM adjacent to the visitors log. A Coast Guard Combat Veterans Association has asked that we deliver to Patriots Points a plaque remembering the USS KEY WEST, a WWII Coast Guard manned frigate. Another item reported was that Admiral Kime before he stepped down as Commandant was to make arrangements for the Marine Safety Office in Charleston to make a courtesy inspection of INGHAM and provide a data base for future maintenance work on the INGHAM and advise Patriots Point of the ships urgent maintenance needs. As of July 1994 there were 260 members, with 32 widows and 6 honorary. The number of non-voting members has climbed to 44 which at present is 15%. The ratio of non-veterans must be monitored as the association's classification as a 501-C-19 requires 75% of the membership be from the Armed Forces.
  • 1996
    Effort is underway to have INGHAM designated as a National Memorial to the thousands of Coast Guard people who lost their lives in our Nation's armed conflicts. This project is envisioned as having the names of Coast Guard casualties of WWII, Korea and Viet Nam permanently displayed on the ship in a setting honoring their sacrifice for their country. Being a National Memorial would place INGHAM in a special niche in American History, joining the YORKTOWN who is the National Memorial to aircraft carrier crewmen and air crewmen who lost their lives in combat. The 7th Biennial reunion was held in Mount Pleasant, SC, October 7th to the 11th. A memorial service was held on the YORKTOWN in Patriots Point and a video was made of the event. At the reunion several deserving individuals were awarded the John M. Waters, Jr Award, they were: Don Balsly, Bill Henderson, Russ Burkhard and Captain Karl O.A. Zittel. The formal presentation to Captain Zittel took place at the Coast Guard Alumni Association Meeting. The citation that is an accompaniment to the medal cites Captain Zittel for extraordinary heroism and outstanding performance of duty against enemy forces while assigned as Commanding Officer of the USCGC INGHAM from 27 May 1944 to 5 February 1946.
  • 1998
    On April 8th at the age of 87, the Association's beloved Captain Karl O.A. Zittel died at his home in Old Lyme, Connecticut. Captain Zittel was the C.O. of the INGHAM from May 1944 to February 1946. During his command the ship served as a convoy escort to North Africa and the Mediterranean and later as a communications flagship in New Guinea and the Philippines where it participated in landings on Bataan, Corregidor and many other combat missions in the area. INGHAM was the flagship for Admiral Buckmaster of the South China Naval Force during the occupation of Shanghai, Hong Kong, French Indo-China. Prior to C.O. of INGHAM he was Executive Officer on the SPENCER. In 1998, the Association held its 8th Biennial Reunion, October 5th through the 8th at the Holiday Inn in Mt. Pleasant. SC. The keynote speaker at the reunion was RADM Norman T. Saunders, USCG who spoke about keeping with the highest traditions of the United States Coast Guard and how the crew members of the Cutter INGHAM established many of the traditions that we endeavor to honor. RADM Saunders stated, "you fulfilled your service obligation, however you have one more obligation that remains. You must pass on your memories. Tell your stories. Tell what you saw and what you did so the next members in the "long blue line" can know the traditions they must uphold. The Modern Coast Guard needs to know the story. And finally, tell them that these aren't sea stories. They are an indelible part not just of Coast Guard history, but of the character of the Coast Guard present. The United States Coast Guard is great because of people like you, joined it with a commitment to serve America and serve humanity. Remember the quote of Ephraim Kishon, one of the most widely read contemporary satirists in the world and a former prison of several Nazi concentration camps said, "It is the heads held high and straight backs that make us what we are; yesterday, today and tomorrow." RADM Saunders thanked the group for having him at the INGHAM Reunion.
  • 2000
    USCGC Ingham Association held its 9th Biennial Reunion on August 2-6, 2000, at the Holland Inn, Holland, MI. which had the traditional 5 days of reunion activities. At the banquet, the John M. Waters, Jr. award was given to Frank A. Tubeck and Gerald R. Ballard. It was fitting to have the Ninth Reunion near the home of the Ninth Coast Guard District. The Guardians of the Great Lakes are responsible for all Coast Guard operations throughout the five Great Lakes, the Saint Lawrence Seaway and parts of the surrounding states, including 6,700 miles of shoreline and 1,500 miles of the international border with Canada. The 6,000 active duty, reserve, civilian and auxiliary men and women who make up the Ninth District deliver multi-mission services in search and rescue, maritime safety and security, environmental protection, maritime law enforcement, aids to navigation and icebreaking. A great time was had by all who attended the 9th Reunion and much learned about the Guardians of the Great Lakes.
  • 2002
    There are still problems with the ship as additional work is needed to maintain the Cutter INGHAM. There are still leaks from coming from the top-side which are now being investigated. Some of the visitors tour routes have evidenced safety problems and are being addressed by the Museum's maintenance personnel. The museum's paint crew is painting top-side so it should look good for the reunion in October. The 10th USCGC INGHAM Reunion was held on October 2nd, 3rd and 4th, in Mt. Pleasant, SC. There were great get-togethers in Hostility Room where items were sold in the "Ship's Store" and six copies of John Water's book "Bloody Winter" were raffled off. As usual it was great to see all the shipmates' scrapbooks and memorabilia. It was also wonderful to hear all of their tall stories which have become taller with the passage of years.
  • 2004
    News from the ship is that Patriots Point Naval and Maritime Museum's maintenance crew has completely refurbished the oceanographic laboratory and weather station on INGHAM. The marine science floating classroom is operated by the non-profit Charleston Explorers. In the fall of 2003 a Class of CPO's needed a four hour community project and chose to work on the USCGC INGHAM. Nine members of the class spent a total of 88 hours working on the MSB finishing with application of lettering and Coast Guard Seals. A new book by Michael G. Walling, a member of the INGHAM Association, was released in June, 2004, it is called "Bloodstained Sea-The U.S. Coast Guard in the Battle of the Atlantic, 1941-1944". Walling grew up in New Jersey. After graduating from college in June 1970, Walling joined the Coast Guard and served for six years as a commissioned officer and a senior petty officer. He served aboard a buoy tender and an icebreaker in the Atlantic. But Walling says his knowledge of World War II and the Coast Guard's role in it comes from 40 years of study, research and talking to hundreds of veterans over the years, including attending numerous Coast Guard ship reunions. He points out that the crews of the Coast Guard's wartime ships were filled with very young men — some as young as 15 or 16, "We are extremely fortunate that these (teenagers) did what they did under unbelievable circumstances". The author said. "they fought for years and no one knew about it, or no one cares. No one has seriously written about the Coast Guard's part in it." Walling crafted his story from crew members' diaries, letters, logbooks and personal interviews and the National Archives. Having the new book for the reunion was very special to all those who helped by giving interviews, as well as those who are just learning about INGHAM's time in the Atlantic. The annual biennial reunion was held September 30, 2004 through October 2, 2004. The memorial service for those who crossed bar was held on the fantail of the INGHAM. At the banquet, Richard 'Dick' Booth, Douglas Thurnher and Alice Thurnher were all presented with the John M. Waters, Jr. Medal for their outstanding contributions to the USCGC INGHAM Association, Inc.
  • 2006
    A special reunion for the 70th Anniversary of the 327-foot Cutters was held on October 5th, 6th and 7th, with the sister ship associations, BIBB, CAMPBELL, DUANE, HAMILTON, SPENCER & TANEY. It was called the "All Ships Reunion" as the first group of ships were launched in 1936. About 150 crew members from seven Secretary-class cutters were gathered at Patriots Point to share stories and memorialize those who have passed away. Men in blue baseball caps began arriving Wednesday each cap with gold letters spelled the names of Coast Guard cutters: BIBB, DUANE, INGHAM, TANEY, CAMPBELL, SPENCER and HAMILTON. Veterans came together for the first joint reunion to mark the 70th anniversary of the cutters' commissioning. The BIBB and the DUANE were sunk off of Key Largo, Fla., as dive sites and fish habitat while the CAMPBELL was used as a bombing target and the SPENCER was sold as scrap. A German U-boat torpedoed and sank the Alexander HAMILTON in 1942, the only ship of its class lost in battle. Two survivors from the HAMILTON attended the 70th reunion. The INGHAM and TANEY are now museums. A memorial service was held on the YORKTOWN. After the ceremony, the veterans of all the ships gathered together for a group photo. Gordon Bell of the Campbell Association was the coordinator of the reunion and did a wonderful job. In total 250 people attended from 32 states including Alaska and Hawaii. At the INGHAM Association's business meeting, concern for the condition of the ship was expressed and sadly it is was stated it is Patriots Point's responsibility. There is talk however that it might be possible for volunteers to go on the ship and work, Patriots Point would get back to the association. The Banquet speaker was Captain John Cameron and Captain James D. Bjostad was presented with the John M. Waters, Jr. Award.
  • 2008
    The 13th Biennial INGHAM Association Reunion was held in Charleston, SC on October 16th, 17th and 18th at the Quality Inn, just 1/2 mile from Patriots Point. The Memorial Service was held on the INGHAM's fantail with the service led by Doug Thurnher-President, who introduced the military chaplain and Captain Michael F. McAllister-Commander of U.S. Coast Guard Sector Charleston who gave a brief talk. At the INGHAM Association Business Meeting, a motion was made that the by-laws needed to be changed to allow the descendants of those who served on the INGHAM be able to join. As was stated, many of us old timers will not be around forever and if the association is to survive new members are needed and who better than our children and grandchildren to be these new members. The motion was seconded and passed. At the annual banquet, Jack Elam was presented with the John M. Waters, Jr. Award. The October reunion was enjoyed by over 40 attendees. Captain Michael F. McAllister-Commander of the U.S. Coast Guard Sector Charleston was the guest speaker at the dinner and was thanked for providing the Color Guard , patrol craft and crew who took the descendant, Laurie "Potter" Pearson and her husband Joel Pearson out into the Charleston Harbor to place the memorial wreath to the sea in honor of the shipmates who crossed the bar since the last reunion.
  • 2009
    The "Mighty I" has lived a charmed life surviving many times when she has been in jeopardy. The INGHAM in 2009 again faced another challenge, her home port in Mt. Pleasant for the 21 years was no longer an option. Patriots Point Naval and Maritime Museum faced additional budgetary shortages and could only afford the YORKTOWN and LAFFEY. INGHAM's upkeep at Patriots Point had been an issue for many years and members could see that the Coast Guard Cutter INGHAM was not their priority. No one wanted our ship to become another fish habitat like the BIBB and DAUNE. No one is sure who contacted the National Historic Ships Association but they were asked if our historic and highly decorated ship could somehow be saved. Word came back that one group might be interested in acquiring the INGHAM. It was the USS MOHAWK Memorial Museum in Key West, Florida which operates under the aegis of the Miami-Dade Memorial Museum. The MOHAWK was a 165-foot retired USCG Cutter that also served in convoy escorts during the 1942-1943 "Bloody Winter". In October 2009, the ship was purchased by Bill Verge, Executive Director of the USS MOHAWK Museum for $1.00 and arrangements were made for dry docking for repairs as a result of years of neglect. On October 19th INGHAM entered Dry-dock #1 at the Detyens Shipyard in Charleston and the paint removal began. Once the paint was removed substantial damage was discovered in the hull as leaks had entered the auxiliary machine room. The CPO Quarters had considerable damage from the ramming of the ship by the USS COMANCHE berthed next to the INGHAM at Patriots Point. The feed water tank on that side was ruptured and for years has leaked water into INGHAM's interior. The INGHAM departed the shipyard on November 19th, repaired and repainted and arrived in Key West, at Truman Waterfront, on the November 25, 2009. Bill Verge stated all the memorabilia and displays removed and stored at Patriots Point for the dry docking would be returned to the ship. Many, if not all of the museum's memorabilia and artifacts were donated by INGHAM Association members.
  • 2010
    Once in Key West, Florida, the Coast Guard and Navy established a heavy weather plan so the INGHAM could withstand a Hurricane with Category 3 winds. The pier and ship bitts and bolts were ultra-sounded for deterioration and all passed the test. It was also determined by the safety engineer that new Proton 8 Sampson lines had to be purchased at a cost of $59,000. The total cost for mooring was $140,000. In addition a 430v, three-phase, delta transformer had to be installed on the pier for a cost of $35,000. All the artifacts and museum pieces that were removed for the dry-docking were being re-installed. All the artifacts that were with the ship had been catalogued and photographed and sources have been recorded. Bill stated not all the artifacts had been turned over from Patriots Points but he had a record and would pursue them all. The 2010 Reunion which was the Association's 14th biennial reunion was held at the Virginia Beach Hotel and Conference Center in Virginia Beach, VA, October 7th,8th and 9th. The usual events were scheduled. At the banquet and awards dinner the guest speaker was Vice Admiral Robert C. Parker-Commander of the Atlantic Area/Defense Force East. Bill Verge, CEO of the USCGC INGHAM MEMORIAL Museum gave a slide presentation on INGHAM's progress since leaving Patriots Point. Lieutenant Bill Verge, USCGR (Ret) was awarded the Association's prestigious Captain John M. Waters Jr. Award for all his hard work and dedication in saving the "Mighty I', the most decorated ship in Coast Guard History. The Association will forever be indebted to Bill Verge and he has our gratitude and admiration for his care of our historic ship.
  • 2012
    It was a first, the 15th biennial USCGC INGHAM Association Reunion was held in Key West, Florida on October 4th, 5th and 6th, 2012. Accommodations for the reunion were at the Doubletree Grand Key Hilton Resort. All who attended the reunion could not believe how great the ship looked. Several former members of the "black gang" half seriously said "they can get steam up and be ready to sail in three hours." Bill Verge, INGHAM Museum-Ex. Director/CEO did the majority of the work, setting up an exciting reunion program which included accommodation, dining and interesting diversions. On Thursday there was a reception mixer on the fantail of the ship where shipmates and family members mingled and spoke about the exciting adventures of the "Mighty I". The reunion also had four of the ship's former INGHAM Commanding Officers in attendance which provoked many more interesting stories. The banquet on Saturday at the Doubletree was another splendid evening of camaraderie with the John M. Waters, Jr. Award being presented to Gene Kiss as another outstanding association member. Now in Key West and as a NATIONAL HISTORIC LANDMARK as well as being the COAST GUARD NATIONAL MEMORIAL to the Guardians who lost their lives in WWII through Viet Nam, the Cutter INGHAM is still living up to her motto, "Never too Old to Serve."
  • 2014
    INGHAM Association's 16th Biennial Reunion began on Thursday, October 9, 2014, with shipmates and their families arriving, checking in and picking up their name tags and event schedule. A tasty buffet dinner was provided from 6:00pm to 7:30pm which began the festivities. On Friday, at 10:00am, the traditional Memorial Service honoring those who " Crossed the Bar" was held. Chaplain-Captain Dennis W. Young offered the Invocation and Prayer of Reflection. Saturday, October 11th at 9:00am, the Business Meeting was held, discussing old and new business and the election of officers for the 2014-2016 term. In the afternoon, plans were made to visit the "The Old Coast Guard Station Museum" and have a personal tour by Captain Marty Moynihan a volunteer docent and former INGHAM Commanding Officer 1978-80. The traditional Awards Banquet was held Saturday evening with guest speaker, Rear Admiral Thomas Jones. RA Jones serves as the United States Coast Guard’s Director of Operational Logistics and is responsible for the delivery of mission support and logistics for Coast Guard operations. Rear Admiral Jones did his sea tours on the Coast Guard Cutters TANEY and INGHAM and spoke about his days as a 1st Lieutenant serving with CDR Thomas D. Brennan, the last CO of the "Mighty I". CDR Brennan who played a major role in the decommissioning procedures of the INGHAM in 1988 was also present at the reunion. Rear Admiral Jones stated the great thing about the process, as it relates to the IINGHAM, was that they were told to leave the INGHAM "as is" and not to remove much of her contents, a very lucky directive for the ship. The awards banquet, by means of a great meal, old sea stories and the camaraderie of old shipmates was the culmination of the 2014 USCGC INGHAM Reunion.
  • 2016
    It may not have been the first, but reuniting with the shipmates or their descendants from all of the 327's for the 80th Anniversary of these cutters made September 27th, 28th and 29th, three very special days in Key West, Florida. In attendance were 64 family and shipmates from the USCGC INGHAM, 59 family and shipmates from the USCGC CAMPBELL, 9 family and shipmates from the USCGC BIBB, 6 family and shipmates from the USCGC TANEY, 1 shipmate from the USCGC SPENCER and 1 descendant from the USCGC HAMILTON. Five of our shipmates were on more than one of the 327's, with a total participation at 2016 Reunion, 140 individuals. It is sad to report that there was only one member in attendance who was a WWII veteran. Our second oldest shipmate served from 1947-1949 and two CAMPBELL shipmates brought their entire families of 5, wife, sons and daughters. We also can report that three generations of one family were also present. It was a special occasion for all to reminisce and learn about the great service of the 327's and how they contributed to the history of our nation, especially during periods of conflict and during peace time protecting our shores and providing aid. At the Banquet Dinner our Master of Ceremony was Bill Verge, Ex. Director of the INGHAM Museum. Bill began by welcoming all our guest, which included our guest speaker, Rear Admiral Scott Buschman-Commander of the 7th Coast Guard District and a former INGHAM (WHEC 35) cadet sailor. Other guests were Rear Admiral Christopher J. Tomney- Director of JIATF Sout, Captain Jeffery A. Janzen-Commander of CG Sector Key West, Bobby J. Baker-Commander of Naval Air Station Key West and his wife Shantelle. Also in attendance were Stan Rzad-Navy League President and his wife Karon, Ronald Demes-Naval Mission Coordinator and his wife Mary, Dr. Denny Howley and his wife Beverly of the Navy League and LT. USCG Jason Dart-Chaplain. A round of applause was given to the INGHAM Museum Crew that consisted of Robert and Tracy Crow, Mike Charavell, Alex Appel and Patty Wieschhorster wife of CO USCGC MOHAWK-Captain Craig Wieschhorster. Following the meal, Bill Verge presented a video and music montage of the Cutter INGHAM's history and her trip to Key West, which was outstanding. Our guest speaker Rear Admiral Scott Buschman also presented a film on the modern Coast Guard and spoke about the rich history of the service and his time on the INGHAM as a Cadet. In a surprise to all, Bill Verge was presented with a USCGC Public Service Commendation, an honor he has earned and highly deserves for saving our history, our ship the USCGC INGHAM and for furthering the aims and function of the Coast Guard. . Also at the 2016 Reunion the John M. Waters, Jr. Award was presented to Matthew S. Krainski and his wife Lynn Conley for their outstanding efforts on behalf of the association.
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