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Shore Duty

We have among us at this time one of the best known and best liked “old salts” of the Coast Survey fleet in the person of John Petterson.

John is working in the wood shop in the Instrument Division, and since reporting he has been greeted by many of the officers wh have served with him on ships during the past number of years.

Mr. Pettersen has been in the service about 42 years, serving most of the time as Boatswain. He has witnessed the growth of the Bureau and seen many of our high ranking officers come along from their rank of Deck Officer to their advanced rank of today. He is adopting himself well to his shore duty but says he tires before the day is over.

We suspect that John misses blowing the old Bosn’s whistle to “pipe down” the crew and the ever rolling deck under his feet, but as soon as gets rid of his “sea legs” he no doubt will be okay.

In “The Buzzard,” April 1942.


Our sea-faring crew and many of the old timers as the Baltimore Office will regret the passing of John Petterson, Chief Boatswain, on Sunday, February 27, at his home in Baltimore.

Boatswain Petterson was born in Latvia on April 18, 1873, and entered the Coast Survey on May 10, 1898, as a seaman aboard the Schooner EAGRE. During his many years of service he served aboard the HYDROGRAPHER, the ISIS, and the BACHE under many of our officers, such as Adm. Colbert, Capt. Borden, Comdr. Studds, Comdr. Eyman and many others. During World War I he was transferred to the Navy when the ISIS was turned over to them. He also had a cruise with the Coast Guard aboard the revenue cutter COLFAX in 1907 and saw action in the Spanish-American War. He retired from duty on April 30, 1943, and was recalled on May 1, 1943. He served his years of land duty in the Washington Office and the last few years at the Baltimore Office where he was very popular. His magnificent physique, his sea stories and his good humor made him a very popular figure and he will be much missed.

In: The BUZZARD, Feb.? March 1944


Publication of the National Oceanic & Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), NOAA Central Library.

Last Updated: June 8, 2006 9:24 AM

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