Monday, April 1, 2013

10102. William Vance Huling


So this guy, Commodore Huling of the U.S. Coast Guard Auxiliary, the volunteer arm of the greater service, certainly had things going his way. He obviously loved his service as much as the last Coastie we just met (today they prefer to be called Guardians, but the old term was Coastie). On his gravemarker is a sketch of the flag ship of the Coast Guard, the tall ship of the United States, the barque Eagle. Eagle started out as the Horst Wessel, a German Navy training ship used in World War II, and has the bizarre distinction that both Adolf Hitler and John F. Kennedy stood on her deck main deck in the name of nationalism.

Eagle, taken as a war prize after the conflict ended, is a square-rigged ship, meaning that the sails on her main and mizzenmasts are just that, square. Square-riggers tall enough have small sails aloft known as royals, and royals are typically used with light, favorable winds. An old saying on the sea for wishing a ship heading homeward good luck was, "Fair winds and following seas." In another version, it was "Fair winds and royals all the way." Commodore Huling was sent home with the words "Royals all the way" on a banner above the Eagle.

But he needen't have worried. As I said, he had things going his way. The woman he was sailing home to was his wife, Margaret Fairweather.

You can't make this stuff up.

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