ISS2 2016

Reservist Magazine is the award-winning official publication of the United States Coast Guard Reserve. Quarterly issues include news and feature articles about the men and women who comprise America's premier national maritime safety and security

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Page 47 of 64

Coxswain Bob Canavan's deadly odyssey on Iron Bottom Sound, Guadalcanal Story by William H. Thiesen, Ph.D., Coast Guard Atlantic Area In August 1942, during the initial stages of World War II's Guadalcanal campaign, the local waters of Iron Bottom Sound concealed numerous Japanese submarines. With few Allied patrol craft available to defend against this silent but deadly menace, the Coast Guard landing craft based at Guadalcanal served as nightly anti-submarine patrols. Each of the patrol's three LCPs (Landing Craft Personnel) took responsibility for a different part of Iron Bottom Sound. An early design of landing craft with a top speed of only eight knots, the LCP carried a crew of three and boasted a snub-nosed bow supporting side-by-side machine gun tubs. Each position held a .30 caliber air-cooled Lewis machine gun with circular pan-shaped magazines that attached to the top of the firing mechanism. The coxswain's helm and engine controls were located behind the tandem gun emplacements. The crews fitted their boats with depth charges set for fifty feet, a depth that could have sunk the enemy sub as well as the landing craft. On Tuesday, August 18th, 1942, Coxswain Robert "Bob" Canavan volunteered to pilot one of the evening's anti- submarine patrol boats. Canavan's friends and fellow Coast Guardsmen, BM1 Charles Stickney, MM3 John Alcorn and BM2 Charles Williams volunteered to join him. Together with two Marines, the crew embarked on a journey from which only one man would return. While the other LCPs deployed for their a transport deploying an LCP (Landing Craft Personnel) for the landings at guadalcanal. notice the solid bow, tandem machine gun tubs and the stern where depth charges were mounted on the anti-submarine patrol boats. (Courtesy of the U.S. navy) ReseRvist Magazine a light on yesteRyeaR 46 RESERVIST � Issue 2 • 2016

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