The Men The Spirit The Ship The Mission

USCG CABLE SHIP PEQUOT - UNITED STATES HARBOR DEFENCES
 

OUR SAILORS' STORIES

This page tells another one the stories of  the sailors who served aboard  the U.S. Coast Guard Cable ship Pequot during World War II. The Pequot served  as a harbor defense cable-laying and repair ship under direction of the US Navy.  Her full story can be found on the Pequot Home Page.


Ozzie Frontel’s Story

129. Ozzie Frontel on leave in his dress blues. (Frontel family). 130A, B.  Ozzie - aboard the Pequot, 1944.
(Mike Luongo photo left. Jim Hudlow photo right).

Adolph H.“Ozzie” Frontel was born in Moodus, Connecticut and grew-up in the town of East Hampton. During his high school years he worked in his father’s fish net factory.  After joining the Coast Guard during World War II he went through basic training at the Manhattan Beach Training Station, New York then attended Quartermaster School before coming aboard the Pequot. Ozzie loved the challenge of being at the Pequot’s helm during cable operations and when piloting the small ship through storms.  Like many of his shipmates he enjoyed the camaraderie of life aboard ship and made lifelong friends.

After his time aboard the Pequot he was ordered to report to the 11th Coast Guard District at the Alameda Training Station in San Francisco Bay California.  Once on the West coast he served as a Quartermaster on the Army supply ship FS-258.  Coast Guard sailors crewed 288 of these “Freight and Supply (FS)” Army ships which played a critical logistics support role throughout the Pacific theater during WWII.  In fact by the end of the war there were more Coast Guardsmen serving aboard Army and Navy vessels than Coast Guard ships.  Ozzie and the FS-258 were involved in the Okinawa campaign and after the war escorted a hospital ship to China to bring back US troops. 
 

131. All of the Army Camano Class Light Cargo Ships were built by Wheeler Shipbuilding of Whitestone, Long Island, New York. (U.S.Naval Historical Center Photo NH 74691).

The USS Hewel (FS-391), which was like the FS-258 that Ozzie served on, played the role of the fictitious USS Reluctant in the 1955 John Ford movie Mr. Roberts staring James Cagney and Jack Lemmon. The USS Pueblo, which was captured as a spy ship by the North Koreans, was also a ship of this class converted for research that found itself in the midst of a major international incident in 1968. 

After the war Ossie kept in touch with another Pequot Quartermaster, Bob Livingston and his wife Norma.  Ozzie and his wife Violet, who he married in 1947, made a point of visiting the Livingston family in Ohio at least once a year.

132. Enjoying a night out and each other's company in 1945. Ozzie and Violet Frontel (left) with Norma and Bob Livingston (right). (Frontel Family).

After Ozzie put away his seabag in November of 1945, he and Violet settled in Connecticut, where he built their family home on farmland that had been owned by Violet’s father. They raised two daughters, Claudia and Marcia who gave him three grandchildren.  Ozzie worked as a salesman and service technician for a company in Portland, Connecticut that made custom machines for packaging.  Ozzie traveled all over the world setting up packaging systems and training factory workers.  He also worked as a machinist and in the 1950s he was co-owner of a tavern in East Hampton called “The Purple Cow.”  He played on baseball leagues for years and later took up golf.

In a 1988 letter to Pequot sailor Jim Hudlow, Quartermaster Bob Livingston wrote, “Ozzie was a lot of fun and certainly enjoyed life more than anyone I know.”  Ozzie made several attempts to organize a Pequot crew reunion but it never came to be. He passed away at 62 years of age in February of 1984.  His daughter Claudia remembers that he was a funny, smart, and kind father.  “One of my fondest memories is putting together a plastic model of a Navy ship, and my Dad would point out how it was similar to, and different from, the Pequot!”


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.


FEEDBACK

If you have comments or queries specifically about the Pequot or her escort ships, please contact
 Chip Calamaio chipaz@cox.net, 938 E. San Miguel Avenue, Phoenix, 85014, Arizona, USA. (H) 602-279-4505.

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