Reservist

ISS1 2019

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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RESERVIST MAGAZINE A LIGHT ON YESTERYEAR Revenue Cutter Hudson's combat rescue of the Winslow 120 years ago in the Battle of Cardenas Bay Story by William H. Thiesen, Ph.D., Historian, Coast Guard Atlantic Area When asked by Navy officials to choose a Coast Guardsman whose name should grace a new Fletcher-class destroyer, Commandant Russell Waesche singled out revenue cutterman Frank Hamilton Newcomb as by far the best candidate. A man of modesty, humility and strong work ethic, Frank Newcomb was born in 1846 and raised in Boston. As a teenager, he sailed on his father's merchant ship. In 1863, at age seventeen, he began serving with the Union Navy's South Atlantic Blockading Squadron. After the Civil War, Newcomb returned to Boston and tried his hand in the merchant marine then the nation's booming railroad industry. However, Newcomb missed the sea and, by the early 1870s, he applied for an appointment with the United States Revenue Cutter Service. In 1873, Newcomb received a third lieutenant's commission and served the rest of the 1870s on cutters Petrel, Crawford and Johnson. In 1879, Lt. Newcomb received a different sort of appointment, as an inspector for the United States Lifesaving Service. During the early 1880s, he helped oversee lifesaving stations along the North Carolina coast and helped establish the all-black station at Pea Island. During the 1890s, tensions mounted between the United States and Spain over the island of Cuba. At the time, Newcomb served on cutters in Pacific waters. However, in September 1897, he assumed command of the cutter Hudson, home- ported in New York Harbor. The tensions between the U.S. and Spain simmered until they boiled over in February 1898, with the sinking of USS Maine in Havana Harbor. In the spring, Newcomb began preparing for war and, on the second day of April, Hudson slipped her moorings and steamed south to the Norfolk Naval Shipyard. The Norfolk Navy Yard prepared most units of the U.S. Atlantic fleet for the war, so the facility was buzzing with activity With Newcomb barking orders from the bridge, Hudson provides covering re with six-pounder guns en route to rescuing the disabled Winslow. Hudson's guns red 135 shells during the battle with Spanish batteries. The cutter was successful in reaching the disabled torpedo boat and towing her out of harm's way. (Coast Guard painting by Doug Ellis, 1989.) 52 RESERVIST � Issue 1 • 2019

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