SINBAD – The Coast Guard’s Most Famous Mascot from New Jersey

July 30th, 2013

Sinbad and some of his Campbell shipmates in the North Atlantic, 1943.

USCG (Ret.), K9C (Chief Petty Officer, Dog)

The crew of the Coast Guard cutter Campbell adopted a mixed-breed puppy in 1938. Little did they know that their canine companion would become a world famous Coast Guard veteran. He was, literally, a member of the crew, complete with all his official uniforms and his own bunk. He sailed on board the combat-tested cutter through World War II and saw much action, both at sea and in port. As Life Magazine reported: “An Old Sea Dog Has Favorite Bars and Plenty of Girls in Every Port.” Until recently he had the honor and distinction of being the only Coast Guardsman to be the subject of a biography.

Although he served honorably, he did run into a bit of trouble on occasion, as any sailor might during a long career at sea. As one author noted at the time: “He’s been on report several times and he’s raised hell in a number of ports, even embarrassed the United States Government by creating disturbances in foreign zones. Perhaps that’s why Coast Guardsmen love Sinbad, he’s as bad as the worst and as good as the best of us.” Regardless of the fact that he liked to blow off a little steam while on liberty, he was a brave and capable sailor when he was on duty.

He served faithfully on board Campbell for eleven years, garnering more sea time than most of his contemporaries, before finally retiring to the Barnegat Light Station. He passed away 30 December 1951 and was laid to rest beneath the station’s flagstaff.

The original caption stated: “A sailor home from the sea”. Sinbad retires from active sea duty on September 21, 1948. He sailed with the Campbell eleven years before going to Barnegat CG Station.

Sinbad is “paw printed” for his Coast Guard service record.

Sinbad on tour after the war, promoting his new autobiography.

Sinbad being interviewed about his combat experiences by ABC News.

Sinbad in his bunk catching some shut eye until his next duty watch.

Sinbad only went AWOL once. When he was returned to the ship by the Shore Patrol his punishment was “under no conditions was he permitted liberty in any foreign port in the future.” After that, Sinbad avoided all officers if he could. As the crew noted, he held a “hearty distrust” of anyone wearing gold braid.