NEGAUNEE, Mich. (WLUC) - An original member of a very storied Coast Guard ship is a resident right here in Marquette County, and was recently reunited with the vessel.
Jack Schneider of Harvey began his career in 1968 on Coast Guard Cutter Sherman, a ship in commission for nearly 50 years. On March 29th, Sherman was decommissioned after a very long history.
In 1970, the cutter sank a North Vietnamese naval trawler, the last remaining U.S. warship in the U.S. Coast Guard or Navy in commission to sink an enemy vessel. It was also the first Coast Guard ship to circumnavigate the world, and seized $600 million worth of cocaine off a freighter in Panama, the largest maritime drug bust in U.S. history.
Jack Schneider was able to go to the decommissioning ceremony in Hawaii with a number of his former crew members to see the vessel officially taken out of service.
"It was difficult times in 1968 in our country, and with the Vietnam War being on and not a very popular war, and so being able to be part of that four years originally and then being able to attend to be part of the decommissioning it was a bittersweet moment for a lot of us," explains Jack Schneider, a "plank owner" of Coast Guard Cutter Sherman.
A plank owner is an original member of a crew ship. Back in the years when ships were made of wood, original members would receive a certificate and a plank of wood from the ship when the ship was decommissioned.
"The story ended on March 29th and it was nice to be part of the beginning of the book and kind of the end of the book as well," Schneider says. "It's one ship with many crews, is their motto. One ship with many crews, so over the last 50 years I'm sure there's been thousands of people that have served on Sherman and are very proud to have done so."
Coast Guard Cutter Sherman will now be put into special commission, where all of the excess parts of the ship will be removed. It will then be handed over to the country of Sri Lanka.