On the night of 12 June 1813 in the mouth of the York River, Captain Samuel Travis, USRCS—commanding officer of revenuer cutter Surveyor—prepared his ship to fight off an expected attack by British forces. When the enemy party boarded their ship, Travis and crew ignored the overwhelming numerical superiority of their attackers and defended Surveyor with fierce and fearless valor until overwhelmed. The commander of the British boarding party so admired Travis' intrepid effort that he returned his sword.
(WPC-153: dp. 220; 1. 125'; b. 23'6"; dr. 9'; s. 11 k.; cpl. 38; a. 1 3"; cl. Active)
Travis—a steel-hulled, twin-screw, diesel-powered Coast Guard cutter built in 1927 at Camden, N.J., by the American Brown Boveri Corp.—was commissioned in mid- or late 1927, with Boatswain's Mate J. S. Turner in charge. Built to combat the rum-running trade, Travis operated out of Stapleton, N.Y., Morehead City,
N.C., and Rockland, Maine, successively, through the 1930's. The latter port served as her home base from 1937 to the summer of 1941, when the Coast Guard was placed under naval control for the duration of the national emergency brought on by the war in Europe.
Apparently shifted to Argentia, Newfoundland, in either late 1941 or early 1942 to support the Atlantic Fleet in the Battle of the Atlantic, Travis—designated WPC-153—picked up a sound contact at 1100 on 8 February 1942 while patrolling off Placentia Bay. She dropped a depth charge which temporarily disabled her sound gear. Once the cutter regained the contact, she dropped another pair of charges. While the Coast Guardsmen noted an oil slick, there was no definite confirmation of a "kill."
Travis apparently remained in these northern climes into the winter of 1942. On 20 December, she came across the disabled freighter Maltran which was in danger of running aground on a poorly charted rocky shore. The cutter attempted to tow off the ship, but the hawser parted. Meanwhile, Mohawk (WPG-78) happened by and, at the request of Travis, rendered assistance. The second cutter relieved the first in the towing operation and succeeded in taking Maltran in tow at 0315 on 21 December, while Travis operated as an antisubmarine screen. Eventually, the little group successfully navigated the dangerous uncharted waters and emerged to make passage to the swept channel at Argentia.
Subsequent records are sparse, but the ship undoubtedly remained on active service through the end of the war and into the 1950's. Eventually, her home port became Port Everglades, Fla., by 1960, and she remained in service there until decommissioned in 1963. She was sold soon thereafter.