Archive for the ‘World War II’ Category

We Watched the Sky

Thursday, April 11th, 2013

by Stephen Overturf

Several planes fly over Cambria at two o’clock in the morning in early January of 1942. A man, sitting in his heavy overcoat outside of his home, puts binoculars to his eyes, but cannot make out much about the planes through the gray mist. Still, it is clear from the pitch of their engines that there is more than one, and that they are heading east. He immediately calls Frances Smith, up at the Cambria Pines Lodge, a local inn, and reports. She — somewhat alarmed but telling herself to remain calm — issues a “flash message” directly to the Army headquarters at Riverside. They will know what to do. (more…)

Coast Guard Beach Patrol

Sunday, May 29th, 2011

When the Japanese attacked Pearl Harbor on December 7, 1941, the United States was suddenly plunged into a war for which it was poorly prepared. Before the month was over, 11 merchant marine ships were attacked off the Pacific coast including one, the Montebello, which was sunk off the coast of Cambria. (more…)

Life of a Beach Pounder by Don Gillogly

Sunday, May 29th, 2011

I graduated from High School in Longview, Washington, in 1940 and the following year hostilities broke out. I was engaged to Doreen Kisch, who I had known since we were small kids, and the draft board was breathing down my neck. I wanted no part of the Army so, in 1942, I enlisted in the Coast Guard at Portland, Oregon, about 50 miles away. After basic training at Alameda, California, I was assigned to the beach patrol at Cambria. The Coast Guard first arrived in Cambria in December 1942, and I spent my first Christmas in the military there at the age of 20. (more…)

Piedras Blancas Light Station and WWII

Monday, May 23rd, 2011

World War II must have had a profound effect on Piedras Blancas Light Station. Not only was it a Coast Guard facility but its geographic location on an isolated point on the central coast of California made it especially vulnerable to enemy attack. However, little information about the war time effort at the Station has been uncovered. (more…)

WW II Rationing at Piedras Blancas Light Station by Beverly Praver

Tuesday, May 3rd, 2011

World War II brought rationing to the American public including members of the U.S. Coast Guard serving at Piedras Blancas and all other light stations. Ration books were obtained from the local O.P.A. Board [Office of Price Administration] by one person who collected them for all the personnel at one time. An entry in the Piedras Blancas Log dated Tuesday March 2, 1943, stated “To O.P.A. Board about food rationing for C.G. personnel” indicating that someone had to physically go to the O.P.A. office to obtain the ration books. (more…)

Wreckage of Montebello

Saturday, October 31st, 2009

In the years since the sinking of the Montebello numerous articles have appeared in local newspapers and on the world wide web reiterating the events of December 23, 1941. The tanker was largely relegated to history except for local fisherman who knew the location of the wreckage because it was a productive fishing spot as well as place to lose valuable fishing gear when it  became entangled in the submerged ship. (more…)

Rescue of the Montebello Crew

Saturday, October 31st, 2009

Word of the Montebello sinking reached Cayucos and, at about 8:00 AM, two Standard Oil tugboats, the Alma and the Estero, departed from there in search of survivors. The two tugs picked up thirty two crew members who were in three of the lifeboats and delivered them unharmed to the Cayucos pier at about 11:00 AM.  (more…)

Sinking of the Montebello

Saturday, October 31st, 2009

In the early morning hours of December 7, 1941, Japan unleashed a massive attack on the United States naval base at Pearl Harbor, Hawaii which instantly drew America into World War II and, for the next four years, daily life in America was dramatically altered. An enormous number of men and women enlisted in the military and were shipped overseas. For the rest there was rationing of some commodities and dramatic shortages of others and, for the first time, women went to work in large numbers in “defense plants”. But, for most Americans, the actual fighting seemed to be in far-off, previously unknown places except for those living along the Pacific Coast. (more…)