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  • Writer's pictureDon Wilding

Jesse Rivenback's premonition of doom


In February of 1927, the Coast Guard career of Jesse Rivenback was looking up.

He had just been transferred from the New London base and was promoted from chief boatswain’s mate to boatswain. The former Merchant Marine officer, 36, was married and living in Oaks Bluff on Martha’s Vineyard.

And yet, Rivenback had a deep sense that darkness was on the horizon. His upcoming tour of duty, on patrol on the CG-238 for the “Rum Tour,” was to go around Cape Cod and head to Boston.

Rivenback was feeling more than a little uneasy. This was a premonition of impending disaster.

“You know, I don’t feel right,” Rivenback told a friend. “If anything should happen, have my body sent to Wilmington (N.C.).”

It proved to be a bad omen. On Feb. 20, Rivenback and his eight crewmen were lost at sea off Cape Cod in a storm that many regarded as the worst since the Portland Gale of 1898.

Read the rest of the column in the Cape Codder

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