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BobG

It's Time to Introduce Myself

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Hello. My name is Bob Garcia and I live in Sacramento, California. I first joined MSW way back in the fall of 2014 and, although I've been reading the forum since then, I only but began posting recently. So I thought it was time to properly introduce myself before I try to start a build log.

 

I'm 73 and, like many of the older members here, I enjoyed making plastic models as a kid growing up in a small town in central Indiana. I usually made cars and hot rods but also airplanes that I would hang from the ceiling in my bedroom. My favorite classes in high school were machine shop, metal shop, and wood shop. Making something was much more interesting to me than most of the regular classes. College wasn't on my radar at when I graduated in 1964 so I went to work on the assembly line at the Chrysler transmission plant in Kokomo, Indiana. Although I quickly got bored out of my mind, I earned a good enough wage to buy a 1964 Corvette. That car was a girl magnet and I thought I was in heaven. However, that year was short lived as the Vietnam War was heating up and my draft number was getting close.

 

I had decided to just wait on the draft but several of my high school friends had joined the US Coast Guard and they persuaded me that it had a lot to offer. So I joined in January of 1966 and spent the next 9 weeks of boot camp in frigid Cape May, New Jersey. After boot camp I was sent to Kodiak, Alaska, for an 18 month tour of duty aboard the US Coast Guard Cutter Storis WAG-38 and that's where my love of ships and the sea began. 

 

The Storis was fondly known as the Galloping Ghost of the Alaskan Coast. We were involved in primarily in search and rescue operations and international fisheries patrol in the Bering Sea and the Gulf of Alaska. We patrolled from as far north as the Arctic Circle, south to Juneau and west to Adak in the Aleutian Islands. When out on patrol the work days were long and tiring but also very exciting since we were often involved in SAR operations while out in powerful, Alaskan storms that churned the seas up to 50 feet at times and encrusted the whole ship in ice. 

 

This was during  the Cold War era and tensions always ran high with the Soviet Union. At one point we were given the green light to take action against Soviet fishing vessels that were constantly violating our territorial waters. We were the first ship in the history of the United States to seize a Soviet vessel on the high seas after we caught a trawler fishing inside what was then a 12 mile limit. They fled into international waters with us in hot pursuit and they only came to a stop after we threatened to fire across their bow. We placed an armed boarding crew aboard the vessel and took them in tow. While towing them to the mainlawe were intercepted by their large mother ship and some other ships in their fleet and, after tense negotiations, they agreed cooperate and their captain was eventually flown to Anchorage where he pleaded no contest in court, was fined and returned to his ship. A few months later this scenario was repeated again as we seized another Soviet vessel.

 

After 18 months of tumbling around the Bering Sea and the Gulf of Alaska I was able to choose where my next duty station would be. I elected to go to southern California. The Beach Boys were singing about California Girls and I was eager to meet a few. For the next 2 and a half years I was stationed at the Captain of the Port Los Angeles/ Long Beach. It was great duty. I was an engineman and coxswain on one of the 3 man, 40 foot utility boats. We were mainly involved in harbor security patrols, law enforcement and search and rescue. In January of 1970 I was discharged and two weeks later began going to college using the GI Bill. I eventually graduated from UC Davis and settled into a career and family until I retired in 2009.

 

The Storis became the Queen of the Fleet in 1991 as the oldest active ship in the Coast Guard. She was decommissioned 2007 after 65 years of service which began in 1942 during World War II patrolling the North Atlantic and Greenland. She was placed in the moth ball fleet in Suisun Bay near San Francisco and a concerted effort was launched for her to become a dockside museum in Juneau, Alaska, but that fell through and she was unceremoniously sold to a scrapper in Mexico in 2013. It was a shameful ending for one of the most storied ships in the history of the Coast Guard. 

 

When I began occasionally reading the MSW forum 5 years ago the build logs sparked my interest. Two years ago I built a small dory boat by Artesania Latina which was not a very good kit. My next build was the Batelina from Maris Stella followed by the Indian Canoe from Midwest. Both of those were vey nice to build. I am currently two months into building Chuck's wonderful Medway Longboat and I'm learning so much. I'm about to start the rigging and, even though it is a very simple rigging, I think I'm going to need some help so I plan to start a build log. I would like to move on to scratch building at some point. It would be great to build a model of the Cutter Storis and a Coast Guard 40 footer sometime in the future. 

 

I've certainly caught the ship modeling bug and I've learned so much already from so many of the fine, experienced modelers on this forum . So thanks very much to all.

 

Below are a couple of photos of my completed builds of the Indian Canoe by Midwest that I placed on a piece of driftwood I found and the Batelina by Maris Stella in front of a mirror:

 

 

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IMG_0943.thumb.JPG.f65769bfe554fc95d76f49c65024caba.JPG

 

Bob

 

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Nice to hear your storey, Bob, and an official welcome to MSW from 'Down Under'.  I had a look at 'Storis' on the internet - she looks an interesting ship and would make a fine model.

 

John

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Thanks, John. The Storis was a very special ship with a long storied history in the Coast Guard and it was hoped that she would become a dockside museum in Juneau, Alaska. Unfortunately, that failed to happen.

 

377330333_ScreenShot2020-02-03at11_20_41PM.thumb.png.4d4e27ed28e5ccdfe06a5f051de43115.png

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Great story and intro! And you served on the Bering Sea, so kudos for that too! 💪

 

Lovely modelling too, and I can't wait to see your build logs!

 

:sign:

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Great story! Quite a few of those place names resonated with me, being a native Californian myself. An old high school friend of mine currently lives in Kodiak.  Another friend was an observer aboard a Japanese processing ship in the Gulf of Alaska. Sad to hear about Storis -- she was a beautiful ship.

 

Cheers!

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That was very nicely written. Easy to read and follow. I have watched the TV series "Deadliest Catch" showing the crab fishermen on the Bearing Sea. So I was able to visualize what you wrote when talking about your experience with the Storis and the freezing rough weather.  
 
If you are serious about building a model of her in the future, I would recommend that you start looking for a set of plans of the ship presently. I have found that as time goes by any hopes of finding decent detailed plans can disappear along with the memory of the ship one is looking for. 
 
Thank you for sharing a part of your life and thank your for your service to our country. 
 
Scott

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9 hours ago, James H said:

Great story and intro! And you served on the Bering Sea, so kudos for that too! 💪

 

Lovely modelling too, and I can't wait to see your build logs!

 

:sign:

Thank you, James. The Bering Sea was certainly wild and tough going at times but, as a kid who grew up in the flatlands of the midwest, it was an exciting adventure. I became a bit of an adrenaline junkie aboard the Storis. One of my assignments was going over the side in the motorized life boat or zodiac boat during rescue operations. It seemed like the more perilous the rescue, the more I loved it. That sense of adventure carried over into my personal life for many years as I got very involved in wilderness sports like rock climbing, mountaineering, mountain biking and backpacking. I've hung up my climbing shoes and my mountain bike but I'm an avid road cyclist now and my wife and I still hike a lot in the Sierras and on our travels.

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25 minutes ago, BobG said:

my wife and I still hike a lot in the Sierras and on our travels

Mariposa was my most recent California address before I packed up and moved to South Carolina.

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5 hours ago, ccoyle said:

Great story! Quite a few of those place names resonated with me, being a native Californian myself. An old high school friend of mine currently lives in Kodiak.  Another friend was an observer aboard a Japanese processing ship in the Gulf of Alaska. Sad to hear about Storis -- she was a beautiful ship.

 

Cheers!

Thank you, Chris. I think that I read somewhere on the forum that you had ties to the Eureka or Crescent City area. My wife and I love it up there. The great redwood parks are some of the most beautiful parks in America and the rugged, northern California coast is wonderful. 

 

The Storis was a great ship and Alaska was very rustic and undeveloped back in the 60's. We would make ports-of-call in far flung places like Nome, Dutch Harbor, Adak in the Aleutians and the Pribilof Islands in the Bering Sea. These isolated places were remote and ramshackle back then and had some real rough and tumble characters living there. I can tell you that there wasn't much to do in these places for a 20 year old kid back then which is why the Beach Boys songs had me longing for southern California after I left Alaska! 

 

 

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3 minutes ago, BobG said:

I think that I read somewhere on the forum that you had ties to the Eureka or Crescent City area.

Yep, I'm a Humboldt County boy -- a fact that neither time nor distance can erase.

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3 minutes ago, ccoyle said:

Mariposa was my most recent California address before I packed up and moved to South Carolina.

I've been through Mariposa many times on our way to Yosemite. Lovely community.

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4 hours ago, stm said:
That was very nicely written. Easy to read and follow. I have watched the TV series "Deadliest Catch" showing the crab fishermen on the Bearing Sea. So I was able to visualize what you wrote when talking about your experience with the Storis and the freezing rough weather.  
 
If you are serious about building a model of her in the future, I would recommend that you start looking for a set of plans of the ship presently. I have found that as time goes by any hopes of finding decent detailed plans can disappear along with the memory of the ship one is looking for. 
 
Thank you for sharing a part of your life and thank your for your service to our country. 
 
Scott

Thank you, Scott, and thanks for the heads up about looking for plans early. The idea of building a ship from scratch kind of makes my head spin at my level of experience but it is very appealing to me.

 

Bob

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5 hours ago, CDW said:

Great to meet you, Bob. Enjoyed your Coast Guard story.

Thank you, CDW. Several of my former Coast Guard buddies ended up stationed in Florida. I have relatives in the Tampa area and have visited there quite a few times. I'd have to own a boat if I lived in Florida!

 

Bob

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1 hour ago, Duanelaker said:

Welcome to the site Bob!  Very interesting introduction, and I love your Indian Girl Canoe.

Thank you, Duane. I love the Indian Girl Canoe as well. It's a simple kit but it wasn't without it's challenges for me. There were so many tiny planks to glue and lots of small frames to bend. I found out that I really like to use medium viscosity CA while building it. I know a lot of modelers hate CA glue and advise against using it but I've found, that if you are careful and precise, it can make things go much faster without a lot of complicated clamping. I've glued my fingers together occasionally, of course, but I have found that, if I work on a piece until it practically lays perfectly where you want it, then a little CA will works very well for me gluing the piece in position.

 

I've been considering building one of the Midwest kayaks too. I think these small, uncomplicated models can be really lovely when they are done well.

 

Bob 

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Welcome Bob!!   I enjoyed your story very much.  Wish all new members would share a few of their own stories as well as you did.    I have a nephew in the Coast Guard and his brother's wife is also in the Coast Guard.  Great awakening for them both as they had been stationed in the Tampa area, then Hawaii, then Houston, and now in DC and North Carolina.  This is the first time either had ever seen snow!   I told them to look out, they could wind up in NJ or Alaska and what they have for winter now is nothing.

Cheers

 

Allan

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1 hour ago, fitz301 said:

Hi Bob, nice to meet you and thank you.

Thanks for the welcome, Fitz. I've been reading the forum for a long time and figured it was time to participate more since I was benefiting so much from so many others.

 

Bob

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22 minutes ago, allanyed said:

Welcome Bob!!   I enjoyed your story very much.  Wish all new members would share a few of their own stories as well as you did.    I have a nephew in the Coast Guard and his brother's wife is also in the Coast Guard.  Great awakening for them both as they had been stationed in the Tampa area, then Hawaii, then Houston, and now in DC and North Carolina.  This is the first time either had ever seen snow!   I told them to look out, they could wind up in NJ or Alaska and what they have for winter now is nothing.

Cheers

 

Allan

Thank you, Allan. The Coast Guard has a lot to offer. It certainly launched me in the world beyond the flatlands of central Indiana. We had frigid weather in Indiana but nothing like it was in Cape May or Alaska in the winter. The Coast Guard has come a long ways since I was in it. The new ships and aircraft are so much more technologically advanced and the even the personal equipment for individuals is so much better. For example, we only had 1/4" wet suits to wear under our orange flight suits in Alaska when we were involved in a rescue from our small boats. I remember just freezing and my hands and feet going numb from the spray we would take. Now they have dry suits for situations like that and advanced training for the rescue swimmers. Best of luck to your Coastie family members!

 

Bob 

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Bob,

 

Its nice to see your post! I really like your canoe and have wanted to build one - your rowboat looks great!  Your history with the Coast Guard puts things into perspective as well as some of the other things we’ve discussed in another forum.  I, too, served in the early ‘70s but couldn’t see well enough to qualify for Navy ROTC but the Army was fine with it, so that’s the direction I took. 

 

I look forward to seeing some of some of your projects!

 

Don

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Great way to introduce yourself Bob. Ah that Viet Nam era! I was actually drafted during that era and only, just only, did my deferment keep me out of the fray. They actually pulled the notice back as I was working on sonobouy radio receivers for General Dynamics out of college. I often think I may not have come back save that twist of fate.

Joe

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2 hours ago, nunnehi said:

Bob,

 

Its nice to see your post! I really like your canoe and have wanted to build one - your rowboat looks great!  Your history with the Coast Guard puts things into perspective as well as some of the other things we’ve discussed in another forum.  I, too, served in the early ‘70s but couldn’t see well enough to qualify for Navy ROTC but the Army was fine with it, so that’s the direction I took. 

 

I look forward to seeing some of some of your projects!

 

Don

Hi Don,

 

Thanks for the compliments. There's something about the simple lines of a canoe that makes them so beautiful. I nearly ruined mine though. I had carefully sanded and primed the hull several times because I wanted to get the smoothest surface I could before spraying it with the gloss green. After several coats of green it looked fantastic. It was cold in the garage so I brought it into the house to cure and, wouldn't you know it, I managed to drop it and ruin the paint job. I had to sand it down again and start over!

 

Maybe I'll post a couple of photos of some of the didgeridoos I've made that we talked about. I guess it would be ok in this thread.

 

Any more progress on your Medway Longboat?

 

Bob 

 

 

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Thank you, Joe. Yes, the Vietnam Era was a tumultuous time for the country. I remember vividly hearing an announcement on the radio that the United States had begun bombing raids in North Vietnam. I had been hanging out with several friends at a local gas station and standing by our cars when the announcement was made and one of my friends said, "I guess we'll all be going to war in the jungle pretty soon." All of a sudden, life got very real for a bunch of us 18 and 19 year olds.

 

Bob

 

 

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Welcome to MSW, Bob.  Your intro is great to read.  Indeed, life did get interesting for us around 18 years old.  

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35 minutes ago, mtaylor said:

Welcome to MSW, Bob.  Your intro is great to read.  Indeed, life did get interesting for us around 18 years old.  

Thank you, Mark. I noticed that you are up in Medford. My wife and I go to Ashland for a week or more each year to go to the plays and explore the area. We rent a place in the hills outside of Talent while we're there and really enjoy the area. We'll up there in late April this year. We have even entertained the idea of moving up that way now that we are retired but it's hard to move away from our son and friends in northern California. 

 

Bob

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Bob,

I'll be glad to catch you when you come to Ashland.  The valley is wonderful all year round, IMO.  Let me know when you'll be here and maybe we can meet up. 

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