A personal account of history of enlisted ranks of the United States Navy.
history of enlisted ranks of the united states navy

Sea Bag of Memories

Images Poems Thoughts and Crafts of the Small Ship Sailors of World War II


Wm. J. Veigele, Ph. D., USNR (Ret)


When an enlisted man received his uniforms and other items in Boot Camp a salty Petty Officer tossed to him a canvas sack, a Sea Bag. From then on the sailor kept in it everything he owned. He lugged his Sea Bag with him to every station and ship. Mementos from those places where he served gathered in his Sea Bag. It became a storehouse for his memories of his service.

Rummaging through his Sea Bag a sailor could trace his career, where he had been, ships on which he had sailed, actions in which he had taken part, and shipmates he would always remember. In that sense, the repository of his memories of his time in the naval service was his Sea Bag.


After the Japanese struck Pearl Harbor, many American men who joined the U. S. Navy and Coast Guard became crew members on small ships they called the Donald Duck Navy. These ships guarded America's coastlines, stalked submarines, and escorted convoys across the oceans. In Europe and in the Pacific they swept mines and also led landing craft to invasion beaches.

Life aboard the ships was crowded and cramped with no privacy. They pitched, yawed, and rolled viciously, decks awash, forecastles, pilot houses, and flying bridges buried under water. They weathered the worst of nature and the enemy. These young men were a special type, mostly reservists with no previous sea duty.

Like many sailors, they played music, wrote poetry, drew, painted, and crafted items that were original, humorous, and artistic. It is amazing that they had the mental and physical discipline to do this under cramped and brutal conditions. This book is a tribute to them, and it helps to preserve and record some of those original creations. This SEA BAG will bring back memories for those who served and show others what it was like.

This book is dedicated to small ship sailors many of whom trained at the Submarine Chaser Training Center and are members of the Patrol Craft Sailors Association. They are Too Good to be Forgotten.



Many types of small vessels served in the Navy and Coast Guard of the United States during World War and they too had their poets and artists. Their efforts and works should be recognized. However, in this book I consider only the works of the sailors from a select group of small ocean going ships. They are:

Submarine Chasers: Patrol Craft (PC), Patrol Craft Control (PCC), Patrol Craft Escort (PCE), Patrol Craft Escort Communications (PCEC), Patrol Craft Escort Rescue (PCER), Submarine Chaser (SC), and Submarine Chaser Control (SCC).

Patrol Vessels: Yard Patrol (YP), Yacht (PY), and Coastal Yacht (PYc),

Minesweepers: Fleet Minesweeper (AM), Patrol Craft Sweeper (PCS), Fleet mine sweepers (AM, ex PC and ex SC), and Auxiliary Motor Minesweeper (YMS).

Gunboats: Motor Gunboats (PGM, ex PC and ex SC).

Coast Guard Cutters: Submarine Chaser (WPC), and Submarine Chaser (WSC).

After World War II many of the former small ship sailors continued to generate original work that depicted or reflected on their years aboard ship. The book shows those works and also material from sources other than small ship sailors ­ persons associated with the construction of the ships, training of the crews, and historians.

This 320 page cloth bound book has 200 photographs and figures and 26 color plates.


The Sea Bag

I. The Donald Duck Navy
II. Other Ship Insignia
III. Training Small Ship Sailors
IV. Life Aboard a Small Ship
V. PC Patrol Craft
VI. SC Submarine Chasers
VII. Other Small Ships (PCE, PCS, AM, YMS, PGM, YP, PY, PYc)
VIII. Coast Guard
IX. Exploits Actions and Losses
X. Other Contributors
XI. Going Home
XII. The Later Years


A: Items Issued to an Enlisted Man
B: Photographs of Small Ships
C: Specifications of Small Ships

Plates ­ Engineering Drawings of a PC

Film Library
Related Web sites
Color Plates


Bill Veigele enlisted in the Navy in 1943 and went to Boot Camp at the Great Lakes Training Center. He attended Diesel Schools at the University of Illinois and the Navy Pier in Chicago. He trained at the Small Craft Training Center in Norfolk, Virginia and the Submarine Chaser Training Center (SCTC) in Miami, Florida. In Portland, Oregon he helped put PC 793 in commission. Veigele served as a MoMM 2/C on PC 793 for twenty-two months in the Pacific. After discharge from the Navy in 1946 he did another hitch as enlisted man in the Naval Reserve. After graduating from college he received a commission in the Naval Reserve. He served with Surface, Composite, and Research Reserve Companies. Lt. Veigele was Commanding Officer of Research Reserve Co. 9-21 in Denver, Colorado. He retired from the Naval Reserve in 1968 with twenty-two years of service.

Dr. Veigele earned a B. A. and an M. A. in mathematics and physics from Hofstra College, Hempstead, New York in 1949 and 1951 and a Ph. D. in physics from the University of Colorado, Boulder, Colorado in 1960.

Dr. Veigele is a plank owner of, was Vice President, pro tempore and is serving a third term as a member of the Board of Directors of the Patrol Craft Sailors Association. He is the author of seventy-five articles and five books including the popular and acclaimed PC Patrol Craft of World War II.


As a PCE sailor I relate to the contents of this book. It portrays the guts and determination of young reservists during those awesome times. It is a superb book.

­ Hugh Webster, EPCER 855, RADM, USN, Ret.


This is the only book that shows how we felt about the Navy and WWII through our art and humor. It's a "must read."

­ Ted Treadwell, Former Commanding Officer of SC 648 and author of The Splinter Fleet.

Veigele gives details of life on a small combatant through sailors' arts and crafts. These ships fought the enemy and the sea and played important parts in winning WWII. This book is a "must read."

­ Obie Armstrong PC 1204, Past President of the Patrol Craft Sailors Association

This [book] is not only rich in its depth of information but fascinating for its photos, cartoons, poems, art, drawings and miscellany. . . .

exquisitely drawn plates . . . will make ship modelers ecstatic . . .

. . . . . historians and researchers now have a gold mine of information heretofore never disclosed.

It is a beautifully executed hard bound book . . . and is highly recommended . . .

. . . . conscientious attention to detail and memories.

I found the book superb in every way. Congratulations on your excellent presentation of the life aboard the small ships.


Ordering Information


Sea Bag of Memories - Images, Poems, Thoughts, and Crafts of the Small Ship Sailors of World War II
320 pages 200 photographs and figures 26 color plates Available on CD-ROM in PDF Format Price: $14.95

by Wm. J. Veigele, Ph. D., USNR (Ret)

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Dr. Wm. J. Veigele
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333 Old Mill Road # 324
Santa Barbara, CA 93110-3655

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Navy Knowledge of World War II Small Ships