In my other career as a merchant mariner, I’m glad I’ve never had to call upon the Coast Guard for assistance (and I intend to keep it that way). But it’s always nice knowing that they’re out there, always ready, in case I ever do.
When the USCGC Diligence announced it was shifting it’s home port from Wilmington, NC to Pensacola, FL, I knew I had to get the story. Due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, I almost didn’t, but thanks to the dedicated efforts of the ship’s Public Affairs Officer, ENS Griffitt, I eventually got to interview the captain, Commander Luke Slivinski, the day they left for their final patrol from Wilmington. Then my photographer, Andrew Sherman, and I hopped aboard the Wilmington Water Tours catamaran and got to follow the ship downriver.
It was a day when years of military and maritime history came to an end: as you’ll soon read, the first time a cutter named Diligence was stationed in Wilmington was in 1792. I’m glad to have gotten to tell a small part of that story, and I hope you enjoy reading about their fascinating relationship with our little port city. Many thanks to everyone involved in making this story happen, especially ENS Griffitt and CDR Slivinski, to Wilmington Water Tours, LLC, and to Andrew Sherman, as always, for the exceptional photography. And a very special thanks to PineStraw magazine for publishing this piece. Read it on their website by clicking here: https://pinestrawmag.com/fair-winds-and-following-seas/