Floating museum?

Posted: Sunday, September 02, 2001

All good things come to an end, for ships no less than any other thing or events. Surely and sometime soon the long and distinguished career of the USCG Cutter Storis (WMEC-38), as a commissioned ship will end. But the end of the line for the Storis as an active duty vessel is perhaps the beginning of a new career as a floating museum in Juneau.

The Storis has a fabled record. Commissioned in 1941, the cutter is the oldest serving vessel in the USCG fleet. Storis is also the oldest, active duty warship in America. A unique cutter, the Storis has icebreaking capabilities and was used during World War II in close proximity to Greenland and during the dark days when the battle for the Atlantic was in question. Storis came to Alaska after WWII and was stationed in Juneau from 1949 through the late 1950s when her homeport was shifted to Kodiak. Among other celebrated accomplishments, Storis is the first USCG vessel to circumnavigate North America by sailing through the Panama Canal and the Northwest Passage along with cutters Bramble and Spar.

After decommissioning, Storis could be relocated to Juneau to serve as a maritime museum featuring Alaska's rich maritime history and heritage. The Storis would make a great tourist attraction and a worthy local focus to remember the thousands of Coast Guard personnel who have taken care of navigation and lighthouse stations as well as conducted countless search and rescue missions, fisheries patrols, law enforcement and environmental protection in Alaska over the years.

Several local organizations including the Navy League of the United States and the Marine Engineers' Beneficial Association are interested in working with other organizations and individuals who wish to explore the idea of bringing the Storis to Juneau as a museum when the ship is decommissioned. Anyone interested in exploring this possibility should leave their name, address and telephone number with the Marine Engineers' Beneficial Association at 586-6040.

Joe Geldhof


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