USS Mount Olympus (AGC-8)

USS Mount Olympus (AGC-8)
By John Young (#L-8219)

February 2007 Cover of the Month


Sixty years ago, collector Mrs. A. Mace, Marble, MN sent several #10 envelopes to USS MOUNT OLYMPUS (AGC 8) for a souvenir from RADM Byrd’s massive attack on Antarctica. The envelopes franked with 3 cents Byrd stamps came aboard Task Force 68 flagship with incoming mail from CGC NORTHWIND (1/30/47). The second batch of philatelic requests were brought down by USS PHILIPPINE SEA (CV 47), along with flagship’s new type 2 cancel (M-47a). Cover posted 17 FEB 1947

MOUNT OLYMPUS departed Little America IV, Bay of Whales (2/6/47), then took more incoming mail from USS BURTON ISLAND (2/8/47), arrived in the vicinity of Scott Island(2/13/47), and was underway to Wellington, New Zealand (2/27/47).

Five decades later, John Young took five oversized MOUNT OLYMPUS covers, franked them with 50 cents Antarctic Treaty stamp and sent them on their second voyage to the frozen continent aboard CGC POLAR SEA (WAGB 11). All were re-addressed to fellow Coast Guard Study Group members, as reverse has SLK/ HOOLIGAN’S NAVY.

The cover was posted on 15 JAN 1997 (the 50th Anniversary of the Central Group 68.1 at Bay of Whales). The icebreakers’ radio crew applied OSC (Deep Freeze ’97) that depicts drawings of NORTHWIND & POLAR SEA and parade of penguins. The cachet was donated by Puget Sound Chapter #74. Captain Gene Davis, USCG (retired) has been designing polar cachets in recent years.

The wording (bottom) read 50th ANNIVERSARY/ FIRST COAST GUARD ANTARCTIC OPERATION, while wording honors NORTHWIND for its participation during Operation Highjump 1947 and POLAR SEA for deployment during Deepfreeze 1997. POLAR SEA cut a 16.8 nautical mile channel into McMurdo Station in three days (5-7 JAN 1997), while NORTHWIND took more than fifteen days to transit the pack ice.