These pages continue the story of the U.S. Coast Guard Cable ship Pequot during World War II as a harbor defense cable-laying and repair ship under direction of the US Navy. She was responsible for the installation of anti-submarine indicator loop cables, and while laying and servicing standard communications cables, the Pequot moved very slowly or was stationary. Primarily based out of Boston or New York, a variety of escort vessels were assigned to protect Pequot during these operations throughout the war. This is a story about service aboard one of the 83-Footer escort ships. For more information on 83-Footers and other Pequot escorts see our Pequot Escort page. All photos, unless otherwise indicated, are courtesy of the Flanagan family.

Service Aboard an 83-Footer and the Thomas J Flanagan Jr. Story


Thomas J Flanagan Jr. signed up into the United States Coast Guard Reserve on October 1, 1942 and like many of our Pequot sailors went through basic training at the Manhattan Beach Training Center in New York.  After boot camp he was assigned through the Boston receiving station to the Point Allerton Coast Guard Base and Lifesaving Station at Hull, Massachusetts.

The Point Allerton Life Saving Station opened in 1889 and has a long and colorful history. During WWII this Coast Guard base played a vital role in coastal and harbor defense along the coast of Massachusetts. (Photos Nantaskart & US Coast Guard)

USCG Evergreen (WAGL-295) (Isthmus Books) (Thomas Flanagan Family)

After shore assignments with the 3rd Naval District out of New York Flanagan’s first sea duty was aboard the Coast Guard buoy tender Evergreen (WAGL-295). The Evergreen was one of 39 original 180-foot seagoing buoy tenders built between 1942-1944. During wartime the ship was armed with 20-mm guns, a 3-inch cannon, and depth charges. On the right is a photo Thomas Flanagan took of a sailor manning the Evergreen’s 3-inch aft facing cannon.

The USCG Asterion in her Q-Ship disguise as the SS Evelyn May 19th 1942 (USCG Photo)

Thomas Flanagan next joined the crew of the USCG Asterion (AK-100) which was an old freighter that was converted to a “Q-Ship.” Q-Ships were merchant steamers that were heavily armed and disguised to appear as regular ocean going freighters. The intention was to engage a German U-boat in a surface battle and sink it with overwhelming fire power. The Asterion operated under the name SS Evelyn when steaming along the Eastern seaboard trying to bait German submarines. The Asterion’s sister Q-ship, the USCG Atik (AK-101), which was disguised as the tramp steamer SS Carolyn, was torpedoed and sunk on her first patrol. After that tragedy the Asterion’s large empty cargo holds were given additional bulkhead partitions and loaded with 16 thousand sealed empty 50 gallon drums so that if she took a torpedo from a U boat she would hopefully have the buoyancy to stay afloat long enough to show her teeth to the Germans. But based upon the dismal success of the US Q-Ships in 1943 Fleet Admiral Ernest King terminated the program and re-assigned the Asterion to serve as a Coast Guard weather ship for the remainder of the war.

US Coast Guard Cutter Modoc in Harbor (US Coast Guard Photo)

After serving time aboard the Asterion Flanagan was next re-assigned the US Coast Guard Cutter Modoc (WPG-40) The Modoc had a top speed of sixteen knots, and was armed with a pair of 5-inch deck guns and depth charges. Modoc served with distinction as part of the Greenland Patrol escorting convoys and rescuing sailors from ships sunk by U-boats. The ship also earned the distinction of accidentally steaming in overcast and misty weather into a heated battle between the German Battleship Bismarck and the attacking air and sea forces of the British ships HMS Victorious, Prince of Wales, Norfolk, and Suffolk. Being caught in the cross fire at first the Modoc was taken as an unfriendly by British forces and the Prince of Wales almost fired a salvo of 14-inch shells at her before the British Admiral realized his mistake.

A sailor sitting aft on the CG-83520 between the two aft depth charge racks and another seaman on the 20mm Oerlikon. (Flanagan Family)

After next being assigned to the US Coast Guard Receiving Station in Boston once again Flanagan shipped out aboard the Coast Guard 83-foot Patrol Boat CG-83520 which was stationed out of Charleston, South Carolina. Since coming out of the shipyard together and until the remainder of the war the CG-83520 was stationed with her sister ship the CD-83521. It was during this period that we know the CG-83520 served as one of the Pequot’s escort patrol boats.

With the 20mm Oerlikon anti-aircraft gun covered behind them, we see three sailors working together with a torch to repair something on the rear deck of the CG-83520.

Here we see an 83 footer, possibly the CG-83520, being hoisted aboard a transport ship for the long transfer journey from the US East Coast to Manicani Island in the Philippines.

In January of 1945 thirty 83-foot Coast Guard patrol boats, including the CG-83520 and CG-83521, were shipped to the 7th Fleet in the South Pacific to form "USCG PTC Flotilla Number One". They were stationed and operated out of Manicani Island, just south of the island of Samar near Leyte in the Philippines. Based upon the life saving success of the Coast Guard 83-footers of the “Rescue One Flotilla” who pulled wounded GIs off the beaches of Normandy during the June 6th 1944 invasion, the US was pre-positioning these 83-foot patrol boats in the South Pacific for the expected invasion of the Japanese mainland. After the war, like all of the Coast Guard 83-footers in the South Pacific, the CG-83520 that Thomas Flanagan served on was decommissioned in the Philippines and disposed of by the U.S. State Department.

While in Manila in 1945 to beat the sweltering heat of the South Pacific the crew of the CG-83520 shaved their heads. Thomas Flanagan is the sailor on the far left. Local Pilipinos coming out to welcome US ships in the port of Luzon 1945. (Thomas Flanagan Family


Manicani Island 1944 (Robert Houska / City of Cerritos)

Flanagan’s son Tom tells us that his Dad always said the beach in Manila looked like a junk yard with so many wreaked Japanese and American planes that were shot down, some by friendly fire. He father told how he and some of the CG-83520 crew members painted Japanese Zero markings over the US stars on the wings of some downed U.S. aircraft. He also said that on the day the atomic bomb was dropped on Hiroshima that the sky and the light was just not right. It appeared a strange hazy gray and the ocean was like a sheet of glass.

Thomas J. Flanagan Jr. aboard the CG-83520 in the South Pacific with a captured Japanese Samurai Sword and a photo he took of bomb damage to Manila City Hall. (Thomas Flanagan Family)


Thomas J. Flanagan Jr.’s service record on the back of his Honorable Discharge.


After serving in conditions that varied from the icy North Atlantic to the blistering heat of the South Pacific, at the Coast Guard Personnel Separation Center in Brooklyn, New York Thomas Flanagan Jr. was discharged on March 29th 1946.

After the war Tom Flanagan worked as a union steam fitter with Local 7 in Albany, New York. He remained good friends with Bob Michaels of Brooklyn, New York who was the skipper of the CG-83520.

Thomas Flanagan with his son Tom in 1966 during a New York State Rifle and Pistol Association event.

His son Tom remembers going with his father to meet Michaels on his fishing boat in Sheepshead Bay, New York and how one day his Dad used a Japanese machine gun to shoot crows off the top of his barn but ended up missing the birds and taking off a lot of roof.

Tom Flanagan passed away in 2008 at the age of 83.

Every effort has been made to trace and acknowledge copyright. The authors would welcome any information from people who believe their photos have been used without due credit. Some photos have been retouched to remove imperfections but otherwise they are true to the original.


If you have comments or queries specifically about the Pequot or her escort ships, please contact
 Chip Calamaio, Phoenix, Arizona, USA. (H) 602-279-4505.

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