US Coast Guard Auxiliary flotillas were formed in yacht clubs up and down the East Coast after the US entered WWII. Germany declared war shortly after Pearl Harbor was attacked and American shipping was targeted in home waters. Nazi submarines were sent to seek out that shipping along the coast, and even in the rivers of America. The Navy and Coast Guard were woefully unprepared for that assault which decimated merchant shipping and killed thousands of seamen. US Coast Guard Auxiliarists were called upon to help defend those waters.
In July 1942 the first Volunteer Port Security Force Unit was formed in Philadelphia, of volunteer men and women, not all of whom possessed seagoing backgrounds. During those early days of a 2-ocean war, there were too few patrol boats and planes and U-boats easily targeted ships which were silhouetted against still brightly lit city skylines. In June of 1942, German saboteurs were landed off submarines on beaches of Long Island, New York and Florida. There were rumors in Salem County, New Jersey that German spies had been landed up Cohansey Creek. The threats were real, and anyone living near the shore was keenly aware of them – adults did anyway.
We children on my grandparent’s farm (there were three of us by 1945) remained for the most part blissfully unaware of the dramas taking place so close by. There was always a background of tension, but we were wrapped up in our own childish activities and took little notice of events which so concerned the adults surrounding us. How lucky we were!