The four main topics covered by this collection are Captain Perkins' Coast Guard Academy years, duty aboard the U.S. Coast Guard Cutter
CLOVER off Alaska, the 1976 Operation Sail event, and the 1977 New York City Harbor Festival.
Letters written while a student at the Coast Guard Academy describe courses studied, types of recreation allowed, regulations, use of underclassmen to run errands, and discipline. Additional commentary concerns the possibility of going to Washington, D.C., to march at "Emperor Roosevelt's Coronation" in 1944, the ceremony involved in the decommissioning of the
DENMARK (the last sailing ship in 1945 to carry an American flag) and recommissioning of it in the Danish Royal Navy, the sending of a Japanese Admiral's sword to the Coast Guard Academy in 1945 by General MacArthur, a discussion (1945) of the need for officers to remain in the Navy after the war's end, and commentary on Secretary of Navy Forrestal's plan to make reservists and Annapolis graduates equal in the Navy (1945).
After graduation from the Coast Guard Academy Captain Perkins spent brief periods in Seattle, Washington, before and during his tour along Alaska's southern coast. Letters from Seattle (1946) give observations about the people, discuss disruptions on board the cutter caused by bringing wives from Alaska to Seattle for shopping, describes passing through Snow Pass in the Alexander Archipelago, and mentions the work schedules for the 255-foot ships on weather patrol.
Captain Perkins' duty on the
CLOVER, as described in his letters, involved working on isolated unmanned lighthouses and buoys, taking oil and supplies to isolated stations in the Gulf of Alaska, rescue missions, and freeing ships stuck in ice. He also describes the Alaskan towns Attu in the Aleutian Islands (1946), Ketchikan (1946), Anchorage (1946), Kodiak (1946), and Tin City (1947); Russian Territory (1947); a native settlement on King Island (1947), and Victoria on Vancouver Island (1947). He discusses various problems in the Coast Guard such as officers resigning (1947), friction between regulars and reservists (1946, 1947), districts not cooperating (1947), criticism by the House Appropriations Committee (1947), lack of records about ships (1947), lack of tenders on the Alaskan coastline (1947), unions slowing down repair work at the Seattle shipyard (1947), and plans to cut out the use of cutters in favor of Lighthouse Service (1947). Miscellaneous topics include a description of the Bering Sea and its storms (1946); a description of "Father Honest John L. Glatz," the skipper of the U.S. Coast Guard buoy snatcher
CEDAR (1947); a description of skippers of the
CLOVER and of the CLOVER'S special ice-breaking bow (1947); comments on the exploitation of the native ivory carvers; and Father O'Conner's work at Hooper Bay (1947). Also discussed are the celebration of Christmas at Ketchikan (1946) and at sea (1947), damage done by a volcano at Unimak Pass (1947) and by the Shishaldin volcano (1947) on Unimak Island in the Aleutian Islands, damage done by the tidal wave (1946) at Scotch Cap on Unimak Island, damage done to the USS
PENSACOLA by 1946 atomic bomb tests during the" Crossroads" operation. A 1946 letter describes a visit with Captain Henry A. Larsen, who had written about the voyages of the Royal Canadian Mounted Police vessel,
ST. ROCH, to the Northwest Passage during the years 1940 to 1944, during which he talked about his voyages and his exclusion from the Explorer's Club.
Material concerning the Coast Guard Academy at New London, Connecticut, includes items relating to Captain Perkins' years as a cadet there from 1943 through 1946. Included are his monthly report cards, Academy Christmas cards and postcards, programs and invitations to his baccalaureate and commencement exercises, and a newspaper clipping concerning his graduation.
Captain Perkins' scrapbook spans the years 1943 to 1973. Items of interest are the invitations, programs, and newspaper accounts for his graduation from Admiral Billard Academy in 1943 and from the Coast Guard Academy in 1946; newspaper articles concerning his appointment as the new commander of the Coast Guard Cutter
MODOC in 1963; and clippings concerning his receipt of the Meritorius Service Medal in 1969 and the Legion of Merit Medal in 1971. Also of interest are newspaper clippings describing the Arctic and World War II career of the USS
BEAR (1971), and the "Home with Honor" parade in New York City (1973).
Various items pertain to the U.S. Coast Guard base at Governors Island, New York, such as maps, pictures, and guides concerning its long history as an Army post and its status as a Coast Guard base since 1966.
Also included are Captain Perkins' commissions and several booklets. These booklets contain regulations governing appointments to cadetships in the U.S. Coast Guard (1940) and information on ocean electronic navigational aids (1949). Others consist of two Coast Guard Bulletins (1943, 1951),
The Sea and Its Lore by Vice Admiral James Pine, U.S.C.G. (1947), and "Aids to Navigation for Offshore Structures" by Lt. Commander Perkins (1960).
The remainder of the collection pertains to the New York City Harbor Festival in 1977 and the Operation Sail celebration of the Bicentennial in 1976. Also present is an official souvenir booklet about the 1964 Operation Sail event that took place July 12-19 in New York City. Items concerning Operation Sail 1976 include a 1972 promotional booklet, a list of the board of directors, a New York
News magazine article (June 1976) and a souvenir edition, official souvenir programs, a portfolio of six tall ships prints from paintings by Charles Lundgren, the film
Tall Ships are Coming, pamphlets promoting commemorative items, and tall ships pictures. Also of interest are pamphlets, a commemorative report, a magazine article, memos, and the Captain's Handbook for Operation Sail 1976.
Captain Perkins was Chief Operations Officer for the New York City 1977 Harbor Festival held on July 2-4. Correspondence and official papers concern problems with Coast Guard regulations, safety for the festival events, planning notes, and letters of appreciation. Other related items include autographed postcards, an official program, and the Captain's Handbook.
Miscellaneous items include pictures of the coast Guard Cutter
CLOVER breaking through an ice floe in Alaska, post cards of Alaskan scenes, photographs of Vietnam, and Captain Perkins with Vietnamese and Thai military officials in 1970. Oversized documents include Captain Perkins' 1946 commission, his 1946 B.S. degree from the Coast Guard Academy, and three tall ships picture.
For related material see the David E. Perkins Oral History interview, O.H. #54.