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On July 1 we sent our final appeal to save the GLACIER to MARAD, Congress, USCG, and other interested parties requesting a stay of execution and time to negotiate. We offered the mooring plan completed by Licensed Engineers and a One Million dollar pledge if we had more time. Silence was the reply. MARAD ordered ESCO to commence scrapping on Monday July 2, 2012.

MARAD did hold out the prospect of donating us another ship as a replacement for the GLACIER. We await learning what ship that might be, and we await your advice, especially those in Miami that were anticipating the addition of a museum ship in the Notch.

We are deeply saddened by the GLACIER loss, but I am reminded of the words of Col. Norman Vaughn:

"Dream big and dare to fail!"

Thank you everyone!
The Hundreds who worked physically on the ship!
The Thousands who supported our cause!

We hope you had a wonderful July 4th as our family did!
My son became engaged and we have a new daughter to welcome into the family,
I will take that as a great swap for the loss of the GLACIER.

The destruction of the Glacier is a serious financial loss to the Glacier Society. In the coming days when we calmly collect our thoughts, we will determine our future course. Monday, our 'Save the Glacier' web content will be taken down.

Ben Koether

Navigator Ben Koether represented the GLACIER CREW at the Internment of  Captain Porter  on Memorial Day 2012, in Higganum, CT. 

Captain Phillip Porter, Jr. was a special friend to the hundreds of crew members who served with him during the Bellingshausen Sea Expeditions in 1960 and 1961. He was an outstanding military leader with a brilliant intellect, fine sense of humor and impeccable manners, all with a comforting  demeanor he displayed to his crew.  He drew  outstanding respect and loyalty from visiting dignitaries from nations around the world, and leading scientists, officers, pilots, and sailors from  the quartermasters on the bridge to the cooks, gunners mates, and engine room greasers.  In all my years of service and all my remaining years of  friendship, I never heard an unkind reflection on the Captain. The official Obit below leaves out some very important tidbits that deserve revelation.

Captain Porter led his ship where dozens of ships had previously failed to sail and where many lost their lives. It was an extremely risky adventure taking two ships into treacherous thick pack ice of 10 to 30 FT thickness, well knowing that there were no charts.  This was the unknown.  There were no outside resources able to reach us once we penetrated deep into the ice and approached the unknown coast.  A wrong move would have been fatal to nearly 600 men.   It was most akin to the first space capsules disappearing behind the moon, dead alone on our own with intermittent radio contact with the outside world.  There was no GPS, no Loran, only the sextant (but no stars), the sun and a fuzzy horizon choked with ice bergs.  An occasional planet and the moon were the only heavenly bodies for guidance.   Navigation was as Columbus did it: dead reckoning, an occasional sounding when the fathometer was not choked off by ice, and the use of a lead line.  There was no pit log to register speed.   We gauged speed  by tossing wood chips over the side and timing their disappearance as we moved along.

 I remember standing with the Captain and Bud Waite (Admiral Byrd’s Famous  Eagle Scout Radio operator) and Sir Robert Wright of England  on the open bridge, staring into the abyss of snow, ice, haze, fog, icebergs, with the occasional seal punctuating the tense strain among the watchers  who wondered if a treacherous reef lay under the next  piece of ice.  We strained all our senses and knowledge of geography  to  assure ourselves we could advance.   The Captain gave the Navigation Team total responsibility to call the moves!  The clearing weather revealed an alluring coast line punctuated with Mountains and rocks emerging through the snow.  The Quartermaster team was standing outside, plotting and drafting an outline of the emerging new land as we approached.  I  recall the conversation as if it were yesterday: “Captain,  I request we hove to and rest the crew who have been at this for too many hours with no rest.   I am concerned about what lies ahead.”   He answered: “Yes, do so!”   We  retired for a rest break.   When refreshed, we resumed progress and immediately  recognized we were just yards from colliding with a reef that could have fatally impaled the ship!  That reef is now named Porter’s Pinnacles.

On the trip North we passed through a memorable storm, seas 60 to 100 FT high with winds reaching 100 Kts.  We hove to, as a sailing ship, attempting to maintain station while quartering the breaking waves crashing towards us.  Everyone was ordered lashed into their bunk except the few on watch.  For several days the Captain held the CON much of the time while the ship rolled 68 degrees in 8 to 11 seconds.  One could literally walk across the pilot house timing the roll and walk up the bulkhead at either side of the bridge.  At night during one of these rolls, the Captain was thrown into a bulkhead and knocked senseless. requiring dozens of stitches to close the wound.  I clearly remember the ship’s Doctor cradling the Captain in his lap, bracing himself in a doorway, stitching the Captain’s bloody head.  A fright went through the vessel as command was passed to the XO, but not for long.  I’d say a Purple Heart was earned that night!

This great man and his ship deserve landmark preservation status.

Visit www.savetheglacier.org and http://www.facebook.com/savetheglacier to see the latest photos of the GLACIER.

Published in The Hartford Courant on August 18, 2011
PORTER, Philip Wells, Jr.

Captain Philip W. Porter, Jr., 92, Naval Officer, Higganum Native, United States Navy (ret.) died on August 13 in Norwell, MA. He was 92. A native of Higganum, he was born there in the family home on June 19, 1919. He was the son of Philip Wells Porter and Orvilla Benson Porter. He graduated from Worcester Academy in 1937 and Brown University in 1941. He attended Johns Hopkins University in 1942. A career naval officer, Captain Porter served his country from 1942 to 1973. During World War II, he was awarded the Bronze star with Combat V for meritorious service as a commander during operations against enemy Japanese forces in the Philippine Islands from January 9 to May 10, 1945. Lieutenant Commander Porter led his forces up the Mindanao River, enabling ships to disembark troops, which allowed the army to advance more rapidly inland in Mindanao. From 1959 to 1961, Porter was captain of the United States Navy icebreaker Glacier, which made several voyages to Antarctica on scientific missions. At the time, the Glacier was the largest icebreaker in the world. A group of low, ice-covered rocks just north of the east extremity of Glacier Bight was named Porters Pinnacles after Captain Porter. They were discovered during the Glacier's Bellingshausen Sea Expedition in February, 1960. The Glacier, along with its companion ship the Burton Island, became the first ships to penetrate the Bellingshausen Sea to the coast. That same year, the Glacier donated C-rations, blankets, and landing craft to victims of Brazil's flood-ravaged Parnaiba River. During a reconnaissance flight over the area, Captain Porter's helicopter went down when its blades were caught in power lines. All aboard suffered burns and bruises but were rescued in native canoes. After retiring from the active military, Captain Porter lived in Taiwan, teaching oceanography and navigation at the Taiwan Cultural University in Taipei, and working for the U. S. government. He lived there for 25 years. In 1988 he returned to the family home in Higganum, where he lived until 2010 when he moved to Norwell, Mass., to be closer to his family. He is survived by a sister, Winifred Porter Rounds of Scituate Harbor, Mass.; a nephew, Charles E. Rounds, Jr. and his wife Alicia of Boston; a niece, Kate Rounds of Jersey City, NJ; a niece, Andrea Rounds of Boston; a grand nephew, Chad Rounds, his wife Billie, and their daughter, Charlotte of Denver, a grand nephew, Mark Rounds and his wife Ariel of Miami Beach; close friends, Loren Chen of Providence and Michael Chang of Vancouver, BC; and many dear friends in Higganum.
A private spring interment is planned in accordance with Captain Porter's wishes.



If your youth organization is in the north east and you would like to use the Arctic Scout this year, contact the Glacier Society office for more information.


Volunteer certified captains are needed to pilot the Arctic Scout, our 39’ arctic survey boat for the upcoming Summer/Fall seasons.
Contact the Glacier Society office, 203-380-3474, info@glaciersociety.org or by fax at 203-380-3539.

Click here for photos of the Arctic Scout.

ExplorerThanks to the generous donations of gifts in kind from sponsors such as MTU Detroit Diesel Corp., Dometic Corp., Furuno and Sherwin Williams, just to name a few, the Explorer, a 67’ cruiser, is being completely refurbished and will be made available to support the Glacier Society’s Youth Program. Much back-breaking labor is being supplied by the area Sea Cadets to complete this project. More photos.

Arctic GayleThe Arctic Gayle, the smallest boat in the Glacier Society’s ‘fleet’ is pictured here during her participation in the recent Florida Winterfest
Boat Parade. More photos.

The Arctic Gayle is currently berthed in Fort Lauderdale and is used by area Sea Cadets for training exercises.


Visit www.savetheglacier.org if you have not already been there.

We need your help today! Please make a donation and sign the petition.

We have to motivate Congress and MARAD to save the GLACIER.

We have decided to make GLACIER a permanently moored museum ship in Miami at the “Notch” adjacent to the Miami Science Museum which just broke construction this month on a new 300 Million dollar complex. Glacier wishes to be a part of this success.

With only one month remaining until “The Mighty G/The Big Red One” heads to the scrap pile, the Glacier Society, an organization dedicated to the preservation, restoration and operation of historic vessels, has launched a $10,000,000 campaign to save the record-breaking icebreaker from destruction and transform her into an environmental museum.

“We are at a critical time in the life of the storied Glacier, perhaps more difficult than any passage the storied ship has made in unforgiving environments,” said Ben Koether, chairman of the Glacier Society, former Glacier navigator and discoverer of “Koether Inlet” in the Bellingshausen Sea, Antarctica.

Once the largest and strongest icebreaker ever built, Glacier embarked on a record 39 Arctic and Antarctic deployments, exploring uncharted waters, conducting scientific research and providing safe passage to ships supplying U.S. outposts in frozen waters. Now Glacier is one of 58 vessels earmarked for destruction (all part of the Non-Ready Reserve Fleet located in Suisan Bay, CA.)

Koether, leading environmentalists and a team of dedicated Society members--many of whom are former Glacier crew members—have donated thousands of volunteer hours improving the Glacier at her mooring and raising funds to transport the Glacier to “the Notch”, a large deep water slip on the south side of Bicentennial Park in Miami’s downtown, where she will receive a new life as an interactive museum, educational facility and event platform for youth groups, historians and military reunions. A new science museum being built in the park complements and creates a synergy for both institutions.

“The fascinating life of this ship has a unique role in U.S. history and its future,” says Charles Green, founder of the environmental museum initiative and lead advisor to The Glacier Society. “No other ship afloat can speak so well to the environmental issues we face both locally and on a global scale, such as rising CO2 levels affecting the Polar Regions. The Glacier will be the most important museum in the world for people that want to discover information on environmental, oceanographic, polar and earth-sciences.”

Needing government approval to complete Glacier’s rebirth into a museum, Koether believes her historical significance and environmental importance will be recognized.

“We have never failed in our efforts and we are confident we will be able to continue, with the Maritime Administration’s (MARAD) support of the legislative right, extended to us by Congress to complete our transformation into a museum role. We look forward to honoring the Coast Guard that is crucial to our waters as well as becoming a world symbol of environmental progress,” concluded Koether.

To learn more about the U.S.S./USCGC Glacier, visit www.savetheglacier.org where visitors can read more of the icebreaker’s storied past, sign a petition, make a donation or volunteer in the effort to save her. All contributions are tax deductible.


Ben Koether

Special Thanks to Our Many Friends, Associations and Supporters

"Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world; indeed it is the only thing that ever has." Margaret Mead


We recognize our responsibility to keep you well informed and up to date on the Glacier Society, the ‘Mighty G’ and our Youth Program. To do so we ask that you provide us with updated contact information for you and your family by going to the following link, entering your information and emailing it to us. If you prefer, you can print the form and mail it to Glacier Society, 905 Honeyspot Road, Stratford, CT. 06615.

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Glacier Headlines - Updated 4/6/09


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Ben Koether
Glacier Society
905 Honeyspot Road
Stratford, CT 06615
203-380-3444 or 561-543-1288

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