"U.S.R.C. "Bear" in Alaskan Waters" by Paul McGehee
Image Size: 7" x 9 1/2" ; Edition: 500 S/N
Signed and Numbered: $ 50.00
Is the original still available?

"U.S.R.C. "Bear" in Alaskan Waters" by Paul McGehee. The most famous ship in U.S. Coast Guard history, the "Bear" was built in 1874. Built with 6" wooden planking she was the finest ship of her era for cutting through ice. She spent a decade working as a seal ship out of Newfoundland. In 1884 she was purchased by the U.S. government to become part of the United States Revenue Cutter Service, which later became the U.S. Coast Guard. The "Bear" first entered the pages of history in 1884 as the ship that got through the ice to save the few remaining survivors of the Greely Expedition party which had been trapped in the Arctic cold while charting the coast of Greenland. As a United States Revenue Cutter the "Bear" patroled 20,000 miles of Alaskan coastline for several years rescuing trapped ships and keeping the peace. From 1885 to 1926, "Bear" looked out for seal poachers, shipwrecked whalers, and illicit trade with Alaska Natives, ferried reindeer from Siberia to Alaska, and served as a floating courthouse. By order of the Department of the Treasury, the crew of the "Bear" was given the power to arrest and seize possessions of poachers, smugglers and illegal traders, as well as take census of people and ships, record geological and astronomical information, take note of tides, and escort whaling ships. One captain of the U.S.R.C. "Bear," Michael "Hell Roaring Mike" Healy, was considered a savior by many of the whalers and native Eskimos, as he bought Siberian reindeer at his own expense for the starving natives to use as the foundation for a new herd in Alaska. During one of its yearly trips back to San Francisco, California "Bear" assisted in rescue operations for 1906 San Francisco earthquake. The Revenue Cutter Service became part of the U.S. Coast Guard in 1915 and the ship was renamed the U.S.C.G.C. "Bear." A few years later in 1930, the "Bear" (now named "Bear of Oakland") became a star of the silver screen as the sealer "Macedonia" in the first motion picture production of Jack London's "The Sea Wolf." In 1933-35 Admiral Richard Byrd used her on his second Antarctic Expedition. After that much-publicized exploration of the frozen continent, Byrd then leased the "Bear" to the United States Navy for $1.00 a year. From 1939-41 the ship, now know as the U.S.S. "Bear" served the Navy as part of the United States Antarctic Service Expedition.  When war broke out in 1941, the U.S.S. Bear assisted in the evacuation of Antarctica, as international tensions rose in the months that led up to America's entrance into World War II. "Bear" arrived at the Mikkelsen Islands, just north of the Antarctic Circle, on March 16, 1941, and its crew helped to build an airstrip to evacuate personnel and equipment from the expedition base in the area. From 1941 to 1944, U.S.S. "Bear" (AG-29) served in the Northeast Atlantic Greenland Patrol. The rigging was cut down to two masts to became a fully motorized ship with auxiliary wind power. After the September 12, 1941 capture of the German-controlled Norwegian sealer "Busko," (which was used as a supply ship for secret weather stations) by U.S.C.G.C. "Northland," "Bear" towed the prize all the way across the North Atlantic to Boston harbor! When more up-to-date ships were finally available to replace her, "Bear" was decommissioned on May 17, 1944 and laid up in Boston until the end of the war. She had the distinction of being the oldest U.S. Navy ship to be deployed outside the continental United States during World War II. The years following the war were difficult for the "Bear"...for a while, a new owner purchased her to put her back into the sealing trade, but time had long since passed her by. She languished at Halifax, Nova Scotia for years with talk of her becoming a museum ship. That was never to be...however in 1962 the "Bear" was purchased by a group which wanted to turn her into a floating restaurant along the waterfront of Philadelphia. After a year of refitting for her new life as a seafood restaurant, she sank while being towed to Philadelphia in the waters off of Nova Scotia...ending one of the most colorful careers of any vessel in United States history. "U.S.R.C. "Bear" in Alaskan Waters" (a 1914 view of this famous ship) is faithfully reproduced as an archival-quality print from McGehee's original oil painting, each hand-signed by the artist.