USS Edisto plaques return to hometown of Edisto in grand ceremony

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By HEATHER WALTERS

Historical plaques from a retired U.S. Navy and U.S. Coast Guard ship named at Edisto Island have made their way home and are now on display at the Bay Creek Park at Edisto Beach.
On Tuesday, May 25th, Edisto Beach Town Council and town leaders were presented with two plaques from the retired ship. The plaques were given to the town for public display and safe-keeping by Glenn Smith, a now retired member of the U.S. Navy who worked aboard the USS Edisto in the Antarctica.
“It is a great honor that these are being gifted to the town,” said Iris Hill, administrator for the Town of Edisto Beach. The town’s leaders have put the plaques inside Bay Creek Park, which also houses other town historical documents and artifacts. The two plaques will be on display for the public to view.
Smith said on Monday that he and several other shipmates from across the United States decided to give the two plaques to the Town of Edisto, instead of donating them to a U.S. Naval or Maritime Museum. “It seems they will be showcased better at Edisto, and it’s the town that the ship was named after,” he said. Smith travelled to Edisto from Florida to be a part of the ceremony this week.
He accumulated the plaques after he retired, and began to reach out for fellow retired shipmates, he said. “We want the town to have them,” he said.
Edisto Beach Town Council previously adopted a resolution in 2019, honoring the USS Edisto for its historical contribution to the nation and to the town.
In that resolution, council members recognized the ship for its contribution to science: the ship was also named at Edisto Island.
The USS Edisto was a Wind Class Icebreaker, commissioned into service with the U.S. Navy on March 20, 1947. The ship was later transferred in 1965 to the U.S. Coast Guard in Boston, Maryland, where she was re-designated and commission as United STATES Coast Guard Cutter Edisto.
According to information provided by the Town of Edisto Beach, sailors on the Edisto suffered cold-weather operations and collected data to establish weather stations. The USS Edisto was “indispensable in support of exploration in both the Arctic and Antarctic,” the resolution states. “She supplies bases, reported ice packs and floes, took part in oceanographic, hydrographic, geological, coast and geodetic, and hydrophone surveys ...”
The ship was eventually decommissioned on Nov. 15, 1974, in Maryland.
As a part of the council’s original resolution in 2019, Edisto Town Council members also proclaimed June 10th of 2019 as “USS Edisto and USCGC Edisto Day.”

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