To the members of the Historic Preservation Caucus, U.S. Congress, we, the undersigned bring to your attention the mistreatment of the nationally significant historic U.S. Coast Guard Cutter STORIS (WMEC-38).
Built in Toledo, Ohio, STORIS served the U.S. Coast Guard with pride from 30 September 1942 until 8 February 2007. Over the course of her outstanding career of commissioned service and 1.5 million miles, STORIS saved 25 vessels and 250 lives, assisted over 100,000 people in remote areas, and boarded 7,500 vessels in support of international fisheries laws.
STORIS was officially listed as nationally significant by the Keeper of the
National Register of Historic Places on 31 December 2012 as NR Resource 12001110.
STORIS is recognized as nationally significant under Criterion “A.”
This recognizes STORIS as the last member of the famed Greenland Patrols of World War II to retain military configuration at a high level of physical and historic integrity.
In 1957, STORIS led a three-ship convoy of USCG vessels on the first deep-draft transit of the Northwest Passage through the Canadian Arctic from west to east.
When STORIS emerged in the waters near Greenland, she became the first American vessel to have completely circumnavigated North America. As she was the last vessel to return home on the mission, she became the third ship to complete a circumnavigation in one season.
STORIS is also recognized as the last USCG vessel to have completed an official Bering Sea Patrol, providing medical, dental and judicial services to remote Alaskan villages.
She ultimately provided 64 years and five months of federal service as a front-line Coast Guard cutter, performing law enforcement, search and rescue, Aids to Navigation, scientific and humanitarian and other federal services, a record unlikely to be matched by any modern vessel.
STORIS is also recognized as significant as an outstanding example of 1940s ship design. From 1991 to 2007, she was "Queen of the Fleet": oldest cutter in the USCG, wearing her "38" hull numbers in gold.
The single example of her class to be constructed, nevertheless, her robust design and staunch construction allowed her to regularly patrol some of the roughest, most treacherous waters in the world in the Northern Pacific, Gulf of Alaska and Bering Sea.
The nonprofit STORIS Museum and Last Patrol Museum intended to reactivate the ship in Toledo as a museum and monument to USCG history while bringing the ship alive as a training ship for U.S. Navy Sea Cadets. Instead of helping the nonprofits negotiate the transfer process, GSA fell back on a seven--year-old agreement that created an escape for GSA so it didn't have to preserve the ship. STORIS was put up for sale and sold at public auction for a price lower than the secret reserve. The buyer received the ship in spite of not meeting the reserve, putting STORIS in danger.
STORIS is one of a kind. If she is lost, she is lost FOREVER.
* The GSA promotes itself as a progressive and responsible steward of federal historic resources. Why was this nationally significant historic ship sold by the GSA to a metals recovery firm?
* Why did GSA allow this ship to be sold for only $70,100 despite the fact the bidding did not reach the reserve price and the GSA auction rules clearly state that the reserve must be met to receive the merchandise?
* Why did Congress repeatedly remove donation language that would have allowed the Commandant of the Coast Guard to donate the ship to the nonprofit STORIS Museum to enshrine STORIS as a regional maritime educational center, a facility that would have generated far more for the American people than a mere $70K?
* What kind of civilized nation treats such a decorated and unique historic resource this way?
STORIS is a VETERAN and DESERVED PRESERVATION
The Government makes rules that it routinely breaks. In this case, right a wrong and SAVE CGC STORIS!
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