The Swing Shift Shuffle is a radio program of swing, big band, jazz, boogie woogie and other popular music from the 1930's and 40's that airs every Wednesday from 6:00 to 8:00 p.m. (US Central Time) on WEVL 89.9 FM in Memphis, Tennessee, with a live webcast at In addition to the radio show, this blog is dedicated to all aspects of the Swing Era, including art, automobiles, cartoons, comics, history, movies, music, news, science, technology, and anything else that happened during that time. It also includes announcements about events in the Memphis/Mid-South area related to the Swing Era, such as classic movies, concerts, dances, lectures, etc. If you see something that fits the description, send it to me at If you would like more information about the radio show, just go to the Radio Show FAQ page.

Thursday, July 30, 2015

Ex-Nazi Serves In U.S. Coast Guard!

Horst Wessel
How is that for a tabloid headline?  Strange, but true!  Of course, the "Ex-Nazi" is a 295 foot long, 1655 ton, three mast, square-rigged sailing ship that the U.S. acquired as a prize in World War II, and that now serves as the flagship of the Coast Guard.  The BBC recently posted a very interesting article about the U.S.S. Eagle, the Coast Guard's training vessel, and only tall ship in active service in the U.S. military.  She was built in 1936 for the German Kriegsmarine as a training vessel, and named the Horst Wessel after a prominent Nazi party activist who penned the lyrics to the "Horst Wessel Song," which became the anthem for the Nazis.  The BBC article also tells the story of a former German sailor who served on the ship, immigrated to America, and was accidentally reunited with his former ship in the U.S.  Apparently, the eagle on the ship's prow originally held a shield bearing a swastika, where it now bears the U.S. Coast Guard shield.
The Eagle

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