On June 16, 2001, Station Whittier, known affectionately as “The Caboose” was commissioned during a large ceremony that included many distinguished guests. Present were Lieutenant Governor Fran Ulmer; Vice Adm. Ernest R. Riutta, Commander, Pacific Area; and Rear Adm. Tom Barrett, Commander, 17th Coast Guard District. The national Auxiliary Commodore, Commodore Viggo Bertelsen; and LCDR Chris Honse, Director of Auxiliary, 17th District and representatives of the Canadian Coast Guard Auxiliary were present also along with representatives of the City of Whittier and many members of the Auxiliary from district 17. After many handshakes and offers of congratulations Station Whittier, dedicated to Auxiliarist Jack Jesse, had become a reality.
In its short life span as an Auxiliary Station the Caboose has become a Whittier icon. For us Auxiliarists it is a focal point of our activities in Whittier. For the public, every person that comes through town will see its unique colors and keep in the back of their mind the presence of the Coast Guard.
The Whittier Caboose is retired Alaska Railroad #1076. It was built in March 1949 by Pacific Car and Foundry in Renton Washington, and placed in service in April 1949. After many years of service it was completely rebuilt in the mid 1970’s.This removed the roof running boards, several windows, replaced existing windows with new Federal Railroad Administration approved glazing and other improvements. In the 1990’s electronic devices made the caboose outdated. Although still used by the Alaska Railroad, many were retired and replaced by EOTD’s (end of train device) and FRED (flashing rear end device). Retired #1076 was acquired and saved from scrapping by the city of Whittier and is now leased for $1.00 a year to the Whittier flotilla of the US Coast Guard Auxiliary. After a year of planning, dismantling, rebuilding and refinishing, It now enters service to the boaters of Prince William Sound as the only caboose to ever wear the Coast Guard colors.