VOA At Sea

A few years ago, Craig wrote about the Air Force’s Commando Solo mission using EC-121s and later EC-130Es to broadcast television and radio programs as an ongoing PSYOPS program in various conflict theaters.

Similarly, during the Cold War, the United States used Voice of America to broadcast news and entertainment to people behind the Iron Curtain to counter Soviet propaganda. Most of the transmissions were along the Iron Curtain itself, but as this Stars and Stripes article shows, parts of the southern rim of the Soviet empire were best reached by a shipborne transmitter in the Mediterranean Sea.

The Coast Guard cutter Courier arrived at the island of Rhodes in Greece in 1952 and stayed until 1964, setting a record for longest deployment overseas. Under an initiative code-named Operation Vagabond, the ship served as a floating and mobile radio relay station, using its powerful transmitter to broadcast Voice of America programs into parts of the Soviet Union, communist bloc countries and the Middle East.


First, it’s interesting that the ship was a Coast Guard vessel. Certainly, a Coast Guard vessel would be seen as less provocative than a naval vessel. I’m just surprised it wasn’t a civilian manned ship of the Military Sealift Command.

For 12 years, USCGC Courier shared America’s vision of hope to the peoples trapped in the Communist beast’s belly.

Well done, Coasties.

H/T: This Ain’t Hell.

3 thoughts on “VOA At Sea”

  1. Yea Coasties! For those of you too old to join the USCG, the Coast Guard Auxiliary is open to any age.


  2. Had a college roommate from Greece who’s dad was a CPO aboard the Courier. He grew up in Greece since the ship was homeported out of Athens. Came to the US for college.

    The dad retired as a CMCPO.

    The son as a SF LTC.

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