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5. Officer Training School

Follow the path to the left and stop near the picnic benches.

During a 4-month intensive course at the U.S. Maritime Training Station, all officer candidates studied fire fighting, first aid, rescue, and small boat handling. There was once a boat dock where the rock jetty juts out into the Bay, with a classic “L” shape.

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Boat Dock, August 19, 1952.
Photo donated by Judie Irmscher Bechtle and Susan Irmscher Phillips

The two-story building behind you is called the Glory of the Seas. Deck officers learned to use flag signals on the upper roof and navigate on the curved “flying bridge” on the second floor. Does it look like a ship to you? It is now the park operations headquarters.

A large concrete block (to your right if you are facing the trail post) was used during the war as an anchor for dirigibles (barrage balloons). It was also a base for the crane used to practice loading and unloading cargo. 

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Barrage Balloon photo by Alfred T. Palmer,
courtesy of the Library of Congress 

Most of the other historic buildings on McKay Avenue are now occupied by federal agencies. The tree-lined Memory Lane at the beginning of this walk was also from the Maritime School days. The current Visitor Center was the U.S. Maritime Service Officer’s School “Red Cross Hall” for medical and dental needs.

What was the course of study at the U.S. Maritime Training Station?

Deck officer candidates: navigation techniques, codes, signals, weather, physics, and nautical skills such as knot tying and how to handle cargo.

Engineering candidates:
engineering, math, physics, drafting, ship engines, and electrical and refrigeration systems.

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Lieutenant L.F. Butzer, USMS instructs Pre-License Engine School students on the parts of a reciprocating engine. Courtesy of Captain Malcolm Crossman

Watch a film and learn more about the Officer Training Program Link.

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