Reunion of Two World War II Coast Guard D-Day
Veterans with Their Wartime Patrol Boat Highlights Armed
Two World War II Coast Guard veterans who
were aboard one of 60 rescue boats during the 1944 D-Day
invasion of Europe at Normandy, France will be reunited
with their actual wartime patrol boat during Armed
Forces Day ceremonies at 10 am, Sat., May 19 in Seattle
at Lake Union Park.
Former Lieutenant (junior grade) Art
Lehne, 86, and Signalman Third Class Wilfred
“Bud” Eberhart, 85, both of whom live in Illinois,
will see each other for the first time since they served
together on the 83-foot patrol boat USCG-11
63 years ago during the D-Day landing at Omaha Beach.
Both in their early 20’s during the war, Lehne was the
boat’s commander and Eberhart was the crewman who
handled radio and signal flag communication duties.
Lehne is a retired deputy superintendent of
the Chicago Public School system and lives in Arlington
Heights in northern Illinois, and Eberhart is retired
also and from Mitchell in the southern part of the
state. Eberhart visited his patrol boat last June 6
during D-Day anniversary ceremonies and was thought to
be its sole surviving crewman. However by coincidence
Lehne, the boat’s commander during the invasion at
Normandy, was subsequently located as well. Although
living relatively near each other in Illinois during
their entire adult lives, Lehne and Eberhart lost track
of each other after the WWII.
As part of the 10 am Saturday ceremonies,
the two WWII Coast Guard combat veterans will go aboard
the wooden patrol boat on which they served as part of
Coast Guard Rescue Flotilla 1, a fleet of 60 vessels
which saved more than 1450 soldiers, sailors and others
from the waters off the invasion beaches on D-Day and
during the weeks afterward.
Retired Rear Admiral John Lockwood,
former commander of Coast Guard District 13 in Seattle,
will be the keynote speaker at the Saturday
ceremonies. Early in his career, Admiral Lockwood was
the commander of an 82-foot Point Class Coast Guard
patrol boat during the Vietnam War and received the
Bronze Star medal for his combat service.
Other speakers will be Dan Withers,
President, Combatant Craft of America; Gordon Myers, Lt.
Commander, U.S.C.G Auxiliary, Coast Guard 83-Foot
Sailors Association; Don Lashua, Army Air Force/ U.S Air
Force Crash Rescue Boat Association; Capt. Chris
Bernard, U.S. Air Force Reserve, Commander, 304th
Rescue Squadron, and a representative of the U.S. Coast
Guard Harbor Security Team, Seattle Sector.
Following its service at Normandy and in
France, the D-Day combat-tested USCG-11
patrol boat was re-designated CG-83366.
Built in 1942 in Brooklyn, New York, it returned to the
Atlantic Coast and was sent through the Panama Canal to
Santa Barbara, California for offshore patrol duty
during the remainder of the war. It ended 20 years of
Coast Guard patrol and rescue service in California in
1962, was purchased as government surplus by Ray Holland
of Seattle, and relocated to Puget Sound.
Holland converted the former military boat to a family
recreational yacht, renamed it Tiburon and
cruised the waters of the Sound and in San Juan Islands
for more than three decades. Moored unobtrusively at
Lake Union Drydock Company, the venerable boat and its
famous WWII history were rediscovered in 2006 by Chuck
Fowler of the Puget Sound Maritime Historical Society.
During the 10 am Armed Forces Day program,
retired Coast Guard Capt. Earl McAuliffe, who
also served during the D-Day invasion, will be honored
together with Lehne and Eberhart. A career officer,
McAuliffe was the commander of an LCI (Landing Craft
Infantry) during the famous WWII landing, and earlier in
North Africa, Sicily, Corsica and elsewhere in the
Mediterranean Theater of Operations. Lehne and
McAuliffe on served separate vessels during the D-Day
invasion in France and did not meet until afterward
When assigned to additional Coast Guard
training back in the United States. Subsequently
however they and their wives became lifelong friends.
Lehne and Eberhart’s Coast Guard D-Day
patrol boat will be exhibited at Lake Union Park along
side a WWII era sister, CG-83527, which
was stationed in Tacoma from 1945 until the early
1960’s. Both boats are the last of 230 similar wooden
Coast Guard cutters built in the early 1940’s that are
in basically original military condition.
The CG-83366 now Tiburon
was built in 1942 by Wheeler Shipbuilding Company of
Brooklyn, New York, the 67th under the
company’s WWII total contract for 230 cutters. Its
sister cutter, CG-83527, was built in 1944
and is the third from the last in the total production
Following its service in Florida, the CG-83527
was transferred through the
Panama Canal to the Pacific Coast, ending up
in Puget Sound and its permanent duty station at
Tacoma. On active duty from 1945 until 1962, it
provided Coast Guard patrol, search and rescue, and
marine safety and enforcement services in the south
Puget Sound area. It is now owned and under
restoration by Combatant Craft of America (CCA), a Puget
Sound-based nonprofit military maritime heritage and
In addition, the Seattle Maritime Academy,
part of the Seattle Community College system, will
exhibit on Sat., May 19 its 82-foot former Coast Guard
patrol boat. Converted and now named Maritime
Instructor, the vessel is used to train on-board
crew members for careers in the maritime industry.
While on active Coast Guard duty from 1963
to 1995 as the Point Divide, it was
assigned to Corona del Mar for patrol and rescue service
in southern California. A fleet of these 82-foot
vessels served as combat patrol, interdiction and rescue
craft in southeast Asia during the Vietnam War. It is
the type of patrol vessel commanded during the Vietnam
War by Admiral Lockwood.
Two other modern military fast response
boats will exhibited during the Armed Forces Day
event. The Coast Guard will display one of its 25-foot
harbor security craft at the Historic Ships Wharf.
These familiar boats are assigned to Seattle, Tacoma and
other key port areas in the Puget Sound region.
In addition the Air Force Reserve 304th
Rescue Squadron from Portland will exhibit its 30-foot
boat used to retrieve aircraft crew members from river,
inland and offshore waters. The unit consists of
combat parachuters or “PJ’s” who jump from aircraft and
helicopters to recover and give medical treatment to
crew members from aircraft downed in water and on land.
Crews from both the Coast Guard and Air Force units
will be available to explain their patrol and rescue
operations and answer questions.
Appropriately the Lake Union Park site, its
moorage and Armory building served as the Naval Reserve
Center in Seattle from 1941 to 1998, and was used for
training hundreds of Navy, Marine and Coast Guard
reservists. The formerly federal government-owned
property was turned over to the City of Seattle in 2002
for development as a maritime heritage-themed waterfront
The two day exhibit of the two 83-foot,
World War II era Coast Guard cutters, 82-foot former
patrol boat and modern patrol and rescue boats at Lake
Union Park is being sponsored by Combatant Craft of
America, a nonprofit education organization, in
cooperation with the 13th Coast Guard
District and Seattle Sector, Coast Guard 83-Foot Sailors
Association, Air Force Reserve 304th Rescue
Squadron and Army Air Force/ USAF Crash Rescue Boat
Association. Other co-sponsoring organizations are the
Center for Wooden Boats, Seattle Parks and Recreation
Department, Puget Sound Maritime Historical Society,
Museum of History and Industry, Seattle Maritime
Academy, Virginia V Foundation and Northwest Seaport.
For more information about the Armed Forces
Day weekend event, contact Chuck Fowler, 360-943-2858
(office) or 360-791-0818 (cell), or by e-mail at
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