Sea Term Flashbacks: An Unusual Shopping Trip (1959)


It’s not unusual for cadets to do a little shopping while on liberty.  This week in St. Thomas, many cadets will purchase souvenirs for themselves as well as gifts to bring home to family and friends. 

On Sea Term 1959, however, cadets aboard the TS Bay State were required to take part in a very unusual “shopping trip”.  Fortunately, in this cade, there was no need to for cadets to spend their own money.

It was an experience that they continued to talk about for years.

Step into our time machine!  Travel way, way back in time to 1959.

Watch for this time machine feature on weekends throughout Sea Term 2023.

1950s life ring

Sea Term 1959

1959 training ship

First Cadet Entry:

“After leaving Long Beach, we made our way up the N.W. coast, leaving warmth and sunshine of California behind us.  Soon Cape Flaherty was in sight.  We made our way through the straits and steamed through Puget Sound into the boneyard of World War II shipping, the Reserve Fleet Area of Olympia, Washington.  

We were here to strip the last life from the Bay State’s sister, the USS Feland.  We had tons of equipment to transfer from the Feland to the Bay State, which would have caused many a salvage engineer to look a second time.  Since there is no substitute for middie labor, the task was accomplished well ahead of schedule.”

black and white image of a ship

Second Cadet Entry:

“At the foot of the Puget sound, in Budd Inlet, lies a monument to America’s seagoing war effort.  Tired old hulks, long since weary of transporting men and machines, lay at anchor, rusting away as they wait for the inevitable shipbreakers torch.  Among them was the former USS Feland, sister ship to our own Bay State.  Our mission was to salvage as much useful material and parts as possible in ten days.

old ships in Olympia, WA
old ships in Olympia, WA

The Middies started in on their task by seizing such valuable items as two hundred AC fans, four portable telephones, a non-functioning radar set, and sundry fittings.  The engineers went right to town, removing everything that would fit through the engine room door.  Thanks must go to the deckman, for through their careful handling of the gear from the Feland to the Bay State, the engineering department now has enough gadgets for the next twenty years.”