Volume 9 , Number 6 , Winter 1987
In December of 1979 the White River Valley Historical Society learned of impending action regarding the United States Coast Guard cutter Taney that she was to be decommissioned and stricken from the list of ships. This ship, honoring Roger B. Taney (for whom Taney County is named), former Senator, Secretary of the Treasury and Chief Justice of the United States, is part of the heritage of the United States.
The Taneys term of service covered almost one quarter of American history. She not only defended freedom in three wars but also preserved life at sea in rescue operations and helped expand mans knowledge of his world in support of several scientific expeditions.
The Society felt the ship should in some way be given sanctuary and her history perpetuated, specifically in Taney County. So a letter was sent to the Department of Community Affairs, United States Coast Guard representing the honor of preserving, at least in part, the cutter Taney. The White River Valley Historical Society and the Ralph Foster Museum, School of the Ozarks, were to be considered as trustees and repository for certain artifacts of the ship, namely the pilot house with all equipment, the ships bell, any data plaques suitable for display, and a set of citation ribbons that had been mounted on the bridge wing. It was stressed that the Society asked for trusteeship, not ownership, of the artifacts and that this material would remain the property of the United States Coast Guard and be available to the Commandant on written notice.
A quick reply from R. B. Gage, Acting Chief, Supply Systems Management & Property Division, United States Coast Guard, (by direction of the Commandant) stated that the Coast Guard did not anticipate decommissioning for a period of two to four years. However, the request had been made a matter of record and the W.R.V.H.S. would be further advised should the artifacts become available for donation at a later date.
There the matter rested until last December. Jean Bealer resides in California and is a devoted Taney County observer. Her grandfather, W. S. Hinman, in 1915 operated the American House in Hollister (another project of the Society). Bealer read an article in the Press Telegram headlined, "Its taps for the Taney", and forwarded the article to the author. The paper stated: "The 45th anniversary of the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor also marked the end of the road for the battles last fighting ship: the Coast Guard cutter Taney. The ship, credited with sinking a Japanese mini-sub on December 7, 1941 was decommissioned Sunday (December 7, 1986) in Portsmouth, VA, as veteran crewmen looked on."
Dr. Robert Gilmore, current president of the W.R.V.H.S. directed another letter be sent, reminding the Coast Guard of their acknowledgment of the Societys request and asking for an update of the Taneys status.
In addition, the aid of the Societys good friend Gene Taylor, Representative from Missouris 7th Congressional District, was enlisted. Since Mr. Taylor has been involved with almost every Historical Site venture in which the Society has participated, it was felt his advice and assistance would be of great value in facilitating this procedure. A letter was sent to Mr. Taylor explaining the matter and asking for his help.
As this issue goes to press, the Committee is awaiting answers from both the Coast Guard and Mr. Taylor. The membership will be kept advised of progress in future issues of the Quarterly.
Copyright Ó White River Valley Historical Quarterly
Next Article | Table of Contents | Other Issues
Local History Home