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My Coast Guard
Commentary | July 14, 2022

Coast Guard Reserve WWII heroes lend their names to two newest FRCs

By Lt. Doug Schneider, Reservist Magazine

​Courtesy article from Coast Guard Reservist Magazine

Virtually all Coast Guard members are aware that the fast response cutters (FRC) are a substantive upgrade to our aging Island Class fleet of 110-foot patrol boats. The FRCs come with a special honor though: this the first time in history the Coast Guard has seen fit to name an entire class of ships after not only heroes, but enlisted heroes who have stood the watch and demonstrated our core values under the toughest of circumstances. Importantly, a significant amount of these enlisted heroes served as part of the Reserve Component.  

I have had the honor of supporting the transition of Patrol Forces Southwest Asia (PATFORSWA) assets from Island Class to Sentinel Class cutters, and because of this, I had the opportunity to learn about these citizen-sailors who answered the call and led by example. Two examples of this are the namesakes for two of the six FRCs that will be permanently homeported in the Kingdom of Bahrain to support Navy Central Command operations under PATFORSWA. 

The Coast Guard Cutter Robert Goldman, commissioned Mar. 12, 2021, in Key West, Florida. The Goldman’s namesake, Petty Officer 2nd Class Robert Goldman, enlisted in October 1942 as a pharmacist’s mate, and he served with honor and courage aboard the 328-foot Landing Ship, Tank-66 during the Battle of Leyte Gulf in the Philippines. 

The Japanese navy had kamikaze pilots aboard aircraft who purposely flew into ships on suicide missions. The LST-66 was the target of one of these attacks. On Nov. 12, 1944, a Japanese plane flew straight for the men gathered on the starboard side of the LST's stern causing significant damage to the vessel, as well as many deaths and injuries among the crew. Goldman's back was on fire from the aviation fuel, his right leg received shrapnel from the crashing fighter, and he suffered severe shock from the sudden crash and the resulting carnage. 

Disregarding his personal injuries, his training kicked in, and he immediately began triaging the dead and the injured, treating his shipmates to the best of his ability, administering morphine and plasma.  

Goldman ignored the pleas from his shipmates to treat his own wounds, telling them, “Others are hurt worse than I am.” It was only after all the wounded were treated, that Goldman received care for his own injuries.  

His dogged dedication to the lives and safety of his shipmates, along with his iron resolve to complete the mission, are just two ways that this hero exemplified the core values of the Coast Guard and the Coast Guard Reserve.

Historian Dr. William Thiesen said, “He was one of countless Coast Guard men and women who have gone in harm’s way to serve others.” 

Not only was Goldman awarded the Bronze Star Medal and the Purple Heart for these actions, but in conjunction with the FRC commissioning of a vessel in his memory, current Coast Guard reservists successfully lobbied to grant him a Reserve Good Conduct Medal that he had been previously denied as well. 

The 154-foot Coast Guard Cutter John Scheuerman, was commissioned Feb. 23 in a ceremony held in Tampa, Florida. The Scheuerman was named after Seaman First Class John “Curtis” Scheuerman, who was posthumously awarded the Silver Star for his bravery in World War II. 

Scheuerman also enlisted in the Coast Guard Reserve in October 1942, and he was part of the commissioning crew serving aboard the Landing Craft, Infantry (Large)-319, or LCI-319. He was recognized by his command as an excellent anti-aircraft gunner and was repeatedly called into action in early September 1943 during the Allied invasion of Italy. 

According to the Coast Guard Historian’s Office, on the morning of Sept. 9, LCI-319 was operating in the Gulf of Salerno preparing for the amphibious assault on the German-held Italian shoreline. The Allied landings at Salerno were met with fierce resistance from German shore forces and fighter aircraft. Under enemy fire, Scheuerman and the other men in the deck division worked topside handling towlines and cables and dropping the anchors. LCI-319 crew supported tank-landing ships and were later called to set battle stations on a number of occasions as enemy aircraft approached. 

Scheuerman, sighted an enemy plane diving in for a strafing attack as the LCI-319 approached the assault beaches in the Gulf of Salerno. Scheuerman unhesitatingly manned his battle station at an exposed 20mm anti-aircraft gun located aft of the ship’s pilothouse and, with cool courage, worked to direct gunfire against the plane. The plane was hit by Allied anti-aircraft fire. As it crashed into the water, the aircraft sprayed LCI-319 with cannon and machine-gun fire. Six crewmen were wounded, with two of them receiving lethal wounds, including Scheuerman. 

Although mortally wounded before he could deliver effective fire, he remained steadfast at his post in the face of imminent death, contributing to the protection his ship against further attack.  

He was transferred to a field hospital for treatment, but succumbed to his injuries. 

Scheuerman’s citation speaks of his “conspicuous gallantry and intrepidity in action,” and Lt. Trent Moon, the commanding officer of the Scheuerman, said he and the crew look forward to “continuing the legacy of the ship’s namesake.” 

Scheuerman and Goldman’s stories personify the patriotism, professionalism, and preparedness that has so exemplified the Coast Guard Reserve since its inception.