ILWACO - The Triumph/Sea King memorial will take place at Cape Disappointment on Saturday, Jan. 9 at 11 a.m. For more information, contact Gordon at 360-355-6700.
A series of boats named Triumph have served in local waters. One was lost in a 1961 accident that claimed five crew members' lives and destroyed the rare 52-foot motor lifeboat.
During its service life, the Triumph I was based at a former Coast Guard station at Point Adams in Oregon. But on Jan. 12, 1961, it embarked on its final search and rescue mission.
The crab boat Mermaid had lost its rudder and was foundering in the breakers off Peacock Spit.
Of four boats sent to help, a 40-foot lifeboat from Cape Disappointment was the first to sink, overcome by a monster wave. A 36-foot lifeboat scooped up the 40-footer's crew and took them to the now-retired Columbia Lightship, but their rescuers' boat sank soon after.
Meanwhile, the remaining two boats attempted to hook towlines to the struggling 38-foot crabber. As the Triumph took a turn, a rogue wave slammed into it, capsizing the 52-foot motor lifeboat. While the last lifeboat came close to success, another large breaker hit, snapping the tow line and capsizing the Mermaid.
Five of six rescuers aboard the Triumph drowned, as did the Mermaid's two-person crew, Bert and Stanley Bergman.
The Coast Guardsmen who gave their lives in the line of duty that night were:
? Petty Officer 1st Class John L. Culp
? Petty Officer 2nd Class John S. Hoban
? Seaman Ralph E. Mace
? Petty Officer 3rd Class Joseph E. Petrin
? Seaman Gordon F. Sussex
Another Coast Guard man and two fishermen were lost 30 years later with the sinking of the Sea King.