1. Hi Robert. I’m curious what your angle is here. You clearly state in this article that the USCG 835s are old. As a crew member of the ship I can confirm that those are all old. None of those are applicable today. So sighting old issues and portraying them onto the ship today as if it was not going to be ready to sail is an interesting and very detrimental angle to take. For anyone else reading this article please know that none of this is correct, this ship is a great asset to the country, and this ship will Sail on time to help the people of New York. Not weeks but days. The USNS Comfort is always ready at a moment’s notice to assist this country or countries around the world.

    1. Hello Victor — The last records I have access to show that three 835 s were kicked down the road and are outstanding. I’m happy to elaborate or add new information but the report here is accurate based on the latest Coast Guard records I can access. There’s no angle other than maritime safety and informing the public about the need we have to support a strong American merchant marine and providing funds for strong ships and maintenance. As a post note, for whatever reasons, the Comfort is not available and won’t be for some weeks. According to the Navy, not me, there are serious enough issues with the ship that she will not hit NYC soon. If it’s not th 835’s I mentioned then, it’s something serious that prevents from sailing directly to New York. In this day and age, thanks for the civility and clarity of your criticism. I did not mean the article to reflect on the crew in any way and thank you for your service on the Comfort. We need you in the area. Godspeed. Bob

  2. Frumpus:

    I could not log into the Word Press site to comment so i had to email you directly.
    Dispatches was so endearing, heart wrenching and beautiful simultaneously.
    I did not have a clear idea of what you guys were going through before.
    Having lived those years with you both I can attest how lovely you both were, and still are.

    I remember your wedding (I was the music at the ceremony, and played an original composition that I still have not finished).
    I remember the wedding party where we danced like nuts singing John Mellecamp’s Jack and Diane.
    We played it over and over and everyone singing the chorus, at the top of their lungs:
    ‘Oh yeah life goes on! Long after the thrill of living is gone.’
    I always thought that some day I would come back to you guys years later and update the tune to Bob & Suzanne.
    It fits perfect rhythmically.

    I the early eighties, when you guys first met, there was a party on East River Drive in one of the boat houses there. Lots of outside lights, beer kegs.
    I wound up dancing with Suzanne to some big fabulous long playing rock song.
    There was a band and a number of rooms, and Suzanne just decided to lead me on our dance from room to room with the song, never missing a beat.
    I remember how elegant and graceful she was dancing, and how she never stopped smiling.
    And I knew how lucky you were to have such a beautiful person to love.

    I am not sure how to console or uphold you and Suzanne through these trials.
    I was thinking of some type of Dr. Seuss book, Bob I Am, making it handy with many pictures.

    Even though my prayers can be threadbare and inconsistent, I offer them up.
    We have been struggling mightily with issues with my youngest son (now daughter who used to be Violet and now is Iris.)
    Mental health issues along with hallucinogens etc are a powerful confusion agent of the human spirit.

    Please accept my offering of Peace & Love for you both.


    p.s. if there was a way to put this up as a comment I would love to.

  3. As a man of 71, a veteran to the altar, I look at the pics of you two and see ourselves in you, grateful for having dodged the bullets of fate. Thank you for this. Thank you for making me think of the times that I have fallen down stairs (not for decades, actually) for the comfort in the words ‘we will always be together’, for the knowledge of the commitment that that requires.
    I looked into faces that I have loved that are no longer here, and felt grateful for the years, the days the minutes that we had together. I am a lucky man.
    And I think that you are too, Mr. Frump. Yes I do.THANKS. BOB

  4. Most excellent and detailed review of Biden’s experience with the Saratoga. The kind of in depth reporting we’ve come to expect from Bob Frump. Huzzah!

  5. I just finished listening to the CG (I’m assuming) recording of the 500 kHz transmissions during that awful night. At the end, R/O Albion Lane sends “30 30” in response to LJKR’s query of how many POB in starboard lifeboat. Mr. Lane then ends with “AR SK” — SK being the morse code prosign for “end of work”. It was then that everyone on the channel knew he was (hopefully) heading for the lifeboats.

  6. I was part of the crew on the CGC CHEROKEE we where on sean leaders to pick up the survivers and dead flouting. We brought them Aboard our ship. To transfer them to a faster 95 footer that got there later so they could take them in to port.

  7. Yet open lifeboats remain in service on ancient US ships. The USCG action on the report recommendation was weak and should create sufficient doubt they will have the courage to lead any meaningful and lasting reform.

  8. Bob, you should probably include CAPT Pete Lauridsen, USCG (Ret) in yours and Gene’s discussion. He was the head of the Marine Board after all.

  9. I just finished “Until the Sea Shall Free Them.” I bought a copy at the Marconi RCA Wireless Museum in Chatham, MA, along with “Blackett’s War” by Stephen Budiansky.

    I very much enjoyed your book, and learned a lot from reading it.

    When reading about the impact of the Marine Board’s recommendations on the US merchant fleet (the scrapping of 70 or nearly half the its vessels over the next two years), I was reminded of another report published in the first half of the 20th century that had equally profound results: i.e., the Flexner Report published in 1910 that resulted in the closure of almost half the nation’s medical schools and initiated the age of modern biomedical teaching and research in the US.

    Abraham Flexner went on to found the Institute of Advanced Study in Princeton, the place where Einstein, John Von Neumann, Kurt Godel, et alia worked when they fled Nazi Germany prior to the start of WWII.

    Perhaps Mr. Calicchio, if he’s still with us, would be pleased to know that his efforts are part of a long standing tradition of men and women who refused to accept the status quo and called out the liars, cons, and cowards who profited from it.

  10. In one of the accounts there is a mention that a number of shoreside contractors were aboard to ready the vessel for Alaska service. Were these people still aboard at the sinking?

  11. Lovely read, and I look forward to ordering your book “The Man Eaters of Eden” on Kindle. I would like to join issue with this statement comparing tigers and lions, however, if I may. –

    ““But,” the Indian guide adds, “in the real world, if they were somehow in the same range, there is no doubt that the lion would gain the predatory niche. The tiger is mostly a solitary animal and the lion hunts in prides. There is no doubt that lions would drive tigers from the niche at the top of the food chain.”

    This statement is actually unclear at best, and untrue at worst, vis-a-vis actual, recorded ecological evidence as concerns the areas where Tigers (the Bengal and Caspian sub-species) were historically sympatric with Asian Lions (Panthera leo persica). As per available ecological evidence and distribution records, it would seem that Tigers in fact displaced lions from the most productive terai grasslands and moist & dry deciduous forests of India, as well as the dense reed-bed grasslands and riverine/riparian forests of Iran. Lion prides moved to occupy the drier thorn jungles and semi-arid seasonal grassland biomes in these areas.

    One could theorize about hypotheticals of a Bengal Tiger versus an African Lion pride, but that is in the realm of fantasy. From the evidence we do have of the interaction between the Asian clades of these two species, however, it would seem that the actual result was pretty diametrically opposite to what you have the Indian guide saying in your post – it was the Tigers that drove lions from the niche atop the food chain. I am also rather surprised that an Indian guide could make a statement about ‘in the real world, if they were somehow in the same range’ – when in point of fact, Tigers and lions DID share the same range in India for centuries.

    1. Good points! Thanks for this. I ought to have thought of this earlier given knowledge of India lions…

  12. Super interesting, and I’m sure terrifying to the people of Tanzania. I’d love to read more. Thank you.

  13. Thank you for the reminder. I have read Until the Sea Shall Free Them several times
    It is on my coffee table where it generates interest in the Marine Electric story. God bless all.

  14. Just watched it. As a retired Coast Guard Marine Investigator I too enjoyed the details in the story. Like the author here, I too am dismayed Capt. Callichio was not even mentioned, The sweeping changes discussed at the end only occurred in large part due to his tenacity to push and see them through..