NEW HAVEN, Conn. – In the midst of the Cold War, a Coast Guard ship dedicated by President Harry Truman left for a mission unlike any before. The ship had only small arms and giant balloons to hold up the antennas vital to its task.
The Coast Guard cutter Courier arrived at the Greek island of Rhodes in 1952 and stayed until 1964, setting a record for longest deployment overseas. Under an initiative code-named Operation Vagabond, the ship served as a floating and mobile radio relay station, using its powerful transmitter to broadcast Voice of America programs behind the Iron Curtain and into the Middle East.
The Coast Guard Museum at the Coast Guard Academy in New London, Connecticut, is marking the 50th anniversary of the mission's end with an exhibit beginning June 19.