Coast Guard Cutter Tampa gets a piece of its history back, thanks to World War II vet

Julia LeDoux
November 22, 2019 - 10:07 am

United States Coast Guard


 A member of the Greatest Generation presented the Coast Guard Cutter Tampa with a historical flag on Thursday in Portsmouth, Virginia.

Alex Obrizok, 96, served in the Coast Guard from 1942 to 1946. In addition to his Coast Guard service, the North Carolina resident is also a Navy and Sea Bees vet with over 20 years of cumulative service to the nation, serving in both World War II and Korea.

According to a Coast Guard, Obrizok met 2003 Coast Guard Academy graduate Patricia Larkin at a wedding in September. The two learned they both served aboard the Tampa.

Following the wedding, Obrizok went through a storage chest and found a flag that belonged to the original Tampa, which served as part of the historical Greenland Patrol during World War II and as an escort for the Dorchester convoy.  That cutter was decommissioned in late 1946.

Tampa flag
United States Coast Guard

Obrizok gave the flag to Larkin and asked if she would return it to the current  Tampa because of its historical significance.

“It’s a beautiful flag,” he said. “It survived all these years and belongs with her namesake, it belongs to the Tampa.”

Obrizok, his daughter and son-in-law drove from North Carolina to Portsmouth to give the flag to the crew. The flag was flown on the ship during his visit and remained flying during quarters while Obrizok read the promotion certificate for three officers who promoted from ensigns to lieutenant junior grades.

Coast Guard Atlantic Area Commander  Vice Adm. Scott Buschman presided over the ceremony and thanked Obrizok for the historical flag, his service to his country and for making the trip to meet the crewmembers aboard the current Tampa.

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