During WWII the US Navy built a base on Ocracoke Island (where the NPS Visitors Center is located today). This naval base effectively ended the U-boat attacks that, early in 1942, sank more than 75 vessels off the North Carolina coast.
During the war Ocracoke was also used by the US Navy Beach Jumpers, a tactical cover and deception unit which was organized under Admiral H. K. Hewitt, then Commander of Amphibious Forces, and of all U.S. Naval Forces in Northwest African waters and the Western Mediterranean. The Beach Jumpers were the forerunners of the Navy Seals.
Next Friday, October 23, the Beach Jumpers Association will dedicate a marker near Loop Shack Hill (site of the first radar tower on the east coast). Members of the Association will be arriving on Thursday for meetings and socializing, as well as for the dedication. The dedication is open to the public.
Our latest Ocracoke Newsletter is a reprint of an article Philip wrote about sailing aboard the historic two-masted schooner, Mary E. It was originally published in the Washington Post in 1976. You can read it here: