USCG Birthday Celebration
James R. Hickey Post 120 honored Allyn Cator on the birthday of the United States Coast Guard, August 4, by hosting a birthday party, complete with a cake, here at the post. Allyn Cator served in WW II aboard the USS Gulfport PF-20 through-out itsʼconvoy duty deployments in the Atlantic and Mediterranean waters. Later diverted to the Paciﬁc TO where the ship was assigned weather duties prior to the possible invasion of Japan. The Gulfport survived a Paciﬁc typhoon that tore away gun-shields and ammunition mountings with what were described as sixty (60) foot waves that damaged and ﬂooded sections of the ship from the forecastle area to the aft gun mountings.
Allyn was surprised at the Post by Commander Ann Guest where he was welcomed as the focus of our “thanks for serving” honor of the USCGʼs birthday celebration. Allyn Cator provided the Post with a copy of the story entitled “Untold Rescue” by Gary Turbak. Turbak tells the “rest of the story” regarding the sinking of the Dorchester. Noted in the story are the sacraﬁces of the four chaplains who gave their life vests to save persons on the vessel sinking from a German torpedo strike. The story tells the previously unreported part where three ships of the U.S. Coast Guard intentionally put themselves in harms way in order to rescue the hundreds of men in the cold water 150 miles from Greenland. The Coast Guard illuminated themselves with star shells to be able to see the men in the water. This action made them sitting ducks for the sub that had ﬁred the torpedo that had sunk the Dorchester. The “rest of the story” came out in 1997 when a nephew of one of the chaplains visited Germany and interviewed a surviving submariner who had been lying on the bottom of the ocean listening to the Coast Guard sonar. Little did the German realize that if the Coast Guard had used depth charges, the men in the water would have been the victims.
Read the rest of the story at the Post.
Allyn, 91, currently resides in East Palmyra where he is still active in serving his community. Thank you Allyn!