CG Station Siltcoos River hosts original crew

Current and former Coast Guard members gather at Station Siuslaw River at a reunion for the original crew housed in the station in 1970. Photos courtesy Dennis Nebrich

June 9, 2023 — It was a memorable Memorial Day Weekend as thirteen members of the 1970 Commissioning Crew of Siuslaw River Station visited their old stomping grounds to celebrate the honor of being the first crew housed in the building. 

Each member of the 1970 crew brought an American flag. The current crew performed a flag raising ceremony for each flag and returned it folded to the 1970 crew member that brought it. They repeated this 13 times.

Then Dennis Nebrich, one of the original crew, presented the 2023 crew with a ceremonial flag as a gift from the commissioning crew.  It was raised and flew above the station the rest of the day.

“It was an emotional moment and the best part of the reunion,” said Nebrich of the flag raising. “I asked the 2023 crew to return to the station on May 14, 2070 and raise our flag on the 100 year anniversary.”

Nebrich was the cook for that original 1970 crew.

“The old station was torn down in 1969 and I arrived to find it a primitive establishment with only the offices and basement half finished,” he recalled. “Eleven of us were housed in the basement with one finished full bathroom and no galley.”

Nebrich was shipped off to Coos Bay where there was an actual kitchen until Station Siuslaw’s got up and running. He was back at Station Siuslaw by November for one of the most infamous moments in local history.

“Most of us were working the day they blew up the whale and I dropped a box of rice when the shock wave hit the station,” remembered Nebrich.

Nebrich would go on to spend almost thirty years in the Coast Guard as both a regular and reserve petty officer, retiring in 2006. He was glad to have a chance to reconnect with his old station-mates, maybe for the final time.

“This will probably be the last since we're all in our 70's and 80's but we want to return one more time to celebrate the good times and memories we had in Florence,” said Nebrich.