The USCGC Fern [WAGL-304; WLR-304]; was one of four Coast Guard ice-breakers engaged in operations on the Illinois River. The Fern was a 115-foot river tender built in Blair, NE, and commissioned in 1942. She was designed to work in tandem with a detachable “Amsterdam” ice plow for clearing shipping channels through ice-choked rivers. She was instrumental in clearing passages for naval shipping that was constructed on the Great Lakes and upper inland waterways, particularly LST’s, destroyer escorts and frigates, that then sailed down to the Gulf of Mexico for final outfitting and commissioning. Such icebreaking duties made sure that construction and delivery of vessels vital to the Allied war effort could continue year round. The Fern was stationed at Peoria, IL, and Burlington, IA and was used for servicing ATON and icebreaking from Dubuque, IA to Keokuk, IA and Hennepin Canal, IL during the war. After the war, she was station at St. Louis, MO, Cincinnati, OH, and finally Dubuque. In 1965 she assisted with flood relief near LaCrosse, WI. She was decommissioned in 1971 and sold in 1972. This old photo was improperly stored and shows some fading. However, because this is an original photo and very few originals have been found, and because the vessel no longer exists, it is a highly desirable collectible for anyone interested in Coast Guard tenders or Illinois River history. Total size is 7”W x 5”H. Matted and framed this would look great on display. This antique collectible is sold as-is with no return.