The ex-USCGC BRAMBLE got underway the weekend of 16-18 September to head down the St. Clair River from her moorings in Port Huron, MI, to moor in the small city of Algonac. The ship arrived on Friday afternoon and was open for tours Saturday from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. She headed back to Port Huron on Sunday by heading down the South Channel and then returning upriver to Port Huron.
The original plan was to head down to Toledo for the fall excursion but the water depths in the Maumee River near the National Museum of the Great Lakes were a cause for concern with her draft.
The owners, Robert and Sara Klingler of Marine City, invited US Coast Guard veterans who served on BRAMBLE and her sister 180-foot buoy tenders. Three of the men who also joined the trip were DC Master Chief James Hiller of Michigan, Chuck Schmitzer of Pennsylvania and Dick Juge of Louisiana. These three men are STORIS Veterans from when she served as flagship of the historic summer 1957 transit of the Northwest Passage through the Canadian Arctic. BRAMBLE and her sister SPAR accompanied STORIS.
BRAMBLE is the most historic of the 39 180s that were built, this because of the NW Passage transit and her participation at Operation Crossroads at Bikini Atoll in 1946. She is listed as nationally significant on the National Register of Historic Places. Just after I nominated BRAMBLE for listing, we started on STORIS' National Register nomination, so both of these great ships were nominated and recognized in 2012. Sadly, STORIS is gone now. Thanks to the U.S. Government for that travesty...
We went and visited BRAMBLE Friday night and Saturday morning. We went back Sunday morning to see them off. It was a privilege, honor and pleasure to meet Master Chief Hiller, Chuck and Marty Schmitzer and Dick and Nancy Juge.
Photos: STORIS and BRAMBLE follow CGC SPAR during the transit of the Northwest Passage in 1957.
BRAMBLE docked in Algonac on Friday afternoon.
Chuck Schmitzer, Dick Juge, Nancy Juge and Marty Schmitzer at BRAMBLE's rail just before departure Sunday morning. Master Chief Jim Hiller was up on the forecastle handing lines.