The Coast Guard At War

Transports and Escorts

Historical Section, Public Information Division
U.S. Coast Guard Headquarters
May 1, 1949

CGC Jackson (WSC-142 / WPG-35)

Commissioning and Description

The CGC Jackson (WPG-35) was built at Camden, New Jersey in 1927 and on July 1, 1941, was on permanent station at Norfolk, Virginia. She was 1235 feet long and 23 feet 6 inches beam, drawing 9 feet of water, with a displacement of 220 tons. Her hull was of steel and she made 11 knots. She had two 350 HP diesel, twin screw engines.

Coastal Escort

The Jackson was engaged in coastal escort duty during the first part of World War II. On May 10, 1944, she rendezvoused at Buoy No. 4, Delaware Bay, South Channel with the PYc-26 and escorted the SS John E. Sweet with the John A. Sutter on Course B at 11 knots, switching at 0500 to course Q at 11 knots and reaching Norfolk on the 16th. On July 7, 1944, she escorted the Charles Fort off Cape Lookout, 8 miles from Buoy 14, having escorted the vessel from the Delaware Capes. Here she was relieved by the SC-1339 and SC-1020. On July 20, 1944, she was part of Task Group 02.5 with home base at Little Creek, Virginia, and Home Yard Norfolk, Virginia.

Founders in Hurricane

On September 13, 1944, the Jackson assisted a vessel out of Norfolk. Then she went to the assistance Liberty Ship which had been torpedoed off the North Carolina coast and almost driven ashore in a later hurricane, but had weathered the blow and been towed to Norfolk with no casualties. While returning to port, the Jackson, with the Bedloe, ran into the hurricane, which increased in force on the 14th. Borne to the top of a huge swell, the Jackson was struck by two swells and rolled over until the mast dipped water. As the swells subsided, the ship righted but was hit by another hard sea and turned on her side a second time. Struggling out of that, the vessel was carried high by a third sea. It seemed then that she hung in the air for a matter of seconds, then the wind seized her, turned her on her side and completely over. She disappeared under a huge wave. 37 officers and men got aboard rafts 17 died during the second night from exposure and exhaustion.

Survivors Rescued by Boast Guard Planes

Nineteen survivors from the Jackson were spotted on life rafts by a Coast Guard plane from Elizabeth City, North Carolina, and picked up by a 36-foot cutter from the Oregon Inlet Lifeboat Station 15 miles away, after being in the water 58 hours. The Coast Guard planes landed in the swells, a plane next to each liferaft, and crew members dived into the sea and hauled semi-conscious men onto the wings of the tossing planes, where first aid was administered. A Navy blimp dropped emergency rations. A Coast Guard cutter took them aboard and landed them at Norfolk for hospitalization. 48 officers and men, including Lt. (jg) N.D. Call, CO of the Jackson, were lost. [See "USCG at War: Cutters Lost" for a fuller account.]
Transcribed and formatted for HTML by Patrick Clancey, HyperWar Foundation