In November 1972, the Coast Guard Cutter Jarvis ran aground during a violent storm in Alaska, puncturing its hull, with a temporary patch applied to stop the flooding. The following day, enroute back to Honolulu, another, more vicious, storm struck; Jarvis now struggled with over thirteen feet of water in their engine room and no power. The nearest ship that volunteered to assist was scheduled to arrive thirty minutes after the Jarvis officers estimated the ship would be destroyed on the rocky coastline. Wind gusts struck at seventy-knots, hail and snow was falling, and at one time, Jarvis hit a swell at a sixty-degree angle.
On May 3, 1972, the CGC Jarvis arrived and moored at the Coast Guard Base on Sand Island located across the harbor from the city of Honolulu. After several months away from home, many of the crew were anxious to be in Honolulu with their friends and families. Those without families would soon spend time with hobbies, swimming, weight-lifting, or working part-time jobs. Non-rates Cortez and DeLeon worked part-time as bouncers in a Honolulu nightclub whenever the ship docked; DeLeon described as a fairly big man who could handle himself in a tough situation while Cortez described by his mentor, Chief Stanczyk, as “someone I wouldn’t mess with even if I had five guys behind me.” Both Cortez and DeLeon, both who had discipline issues on previous assignments, shined while working their butts off for Chief Stanczyk who would label both of them as ‘proven sailors.’ Fellow crewmember Petty Officer Mike Large spent his off-time enjoying recreational scuba diving, a hobby that would turn into a full-time career later in life and prove pivotal in the future of the ship. More importantly, the entire crew was eager to show off the Coast Guard’s newest ship, the Jarvis.