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Coast Guard District narrative histories 1945
It was the intention of the Coast Guard to make the most possible use of RADAR and other electronic devices in order to increase the efficiency of its public services, One shore base installation was established and two installations were tentatively scheduled to be used as an experimental setup to determine whether necessary coverage could be provided for air sea rescue operation. No program other than experimental had been devised for furnishing coverage for the protection of small craft along the coast and in the harbors.
The District Coast Guard Officer of each District was directed to investigate the possible applications of shore based RADAR to the particular problems of his District. Consideration was given to the need of air sea rescue to provide warning of potential or real distress, to determine the assistance to possible control of shipping in and around harbors and the use of RADAR as a supplementary aid for coastal lookout as well as in checking the positions of navigational or any other applications which would increase the efficiency of Coast Guard functions. Results of these investigations by the District Coast Guard Officers were submitted to Headquarters in order that no phase of RADAR application was overlooked in overall study.
The end of the war found the District not only operating 14 RACON Stations, but a new electronic aid, LORAN, with stations at Cape Blanco, Oregon, Point Grenville, Washington and Spring Island in Vancouver, B.C. A Monitor Station for LORAN had been set up at Yaquina Head, Oregon. Installation and supervision of LORAN was controlled entirely by Headquarters. However, on survey trips to determine sites for the various stations, representative of the District Coast Guard Officer, 13th Naval District, had been present. The original installations at the aforementioned stations were temporary, in that they were mobile units, contracts having been let to private industry for the construction of permanent stations. The aids to Navigation Office distributed 1500 temporary LORAN navigation charts covering the coast from Cape Blanco to Spring Island to Army, Navy and Canadian Air Stations, as well as innumerable warships. These two stations were the "Slaves" with the "Master Station" located at Point Grenville, Washington. Headquarters Detachment "G", which was in supervision of the District LORAN Units, operated with headquarters at Newport, Oregon. All stations operated on a 2H4 rate. Favorable reports were received from mariners who had picked up the pulse from the mobile units at great distances at sea.
Indirectly, the Aids to Navigation Section figured in installation of the LORAN on Spring Island off the coast of British Vancouver. Equipment to be moved to the Island from Seattle included trucks, jeeps, weapon carriers, Quonset Huts, materials and equipment for clearing land as well as supplies for 34 men to be stationed there during temporary service. The only ship available in the District for the transporting of these supplies and men, was the tender BASSWOOD. The BASSWOOD made several voyages to transfer equipment until the tender was assigned to the South Pacific, (see tenders), and an Army Freight Ship was sent as relief. The completion of Spring Island as a LORAN Station added another link in the LORAN system covering the West Coast from Mexico through Alaska.
In addition to its previous peace time function, the Aids to Navigation Section, had expanded to include in its duties the 14 RACON Stations maintenance and operation as well as three LORAN Stations together with their monitor Station. The assistance rendered by LORAN, for distances at sea to 1400 miles, was a far cry from the guiding light of the early LIGHTSHIP NO. 50 whose oil lantern set out a gleam a scant 10 miles. And, in addition, not only the sea but the air became safe as LORAN Helped pilots fix their positions with pin-point accuracy. The Coast Guard had made the air, as well as the Sea, safer for navigation.