Few ships logged a career anything like that of the Bear. Over her 89 years—47 in commissioned U.S. service—she served as a sealer, was commissioned in the U.S. Navy three times over the span of 60 years, served the Treasury Department twice in the Revenue Cutter Service and Coast Guard, and was a museum ship, a “movie star,” and a civilian research vessel. In that timespan she gained worldwide attention twice, with one historian citing her as “probably the most famous ship in the history of the Coast Guard.” During World War II, she was the oldest U.S. Navy ship to be deployed outside the United States and was one of the very few to have served not only in World War I, but also in the Spanish-American War. Virtually her entire service was spent in Arctic or Antarctic waters.
Historic Ships: More than Nine Lives
J. M. Caiella