Stan Wood is a 95-year-old World War II veteran and former quartermaster of the LT-464, a Boston-based rescue and salvage tugboat. After his military service concluded, he thought of the vessel often.

"LT stands for large tug," Wood quipped.

It has a diesel turning single propeller rated at 1,200 horsepower, and at 126 feet long, it definitely is not small.

Wood, a spry man with a boyish smile, remembers the vessel fondly.

"One of only a few surviving tugs from 61 Miki-class vessels made for the U.S. Army Transportation Corps," he said, adding that Miki is a Hawaiian term for quick, active, prompt, fast and efficient.

Besides accompanying convoys in the Atlantic as a rescue tug and retrieving disabled ships, crewmen also were constantly on the lookout for German submarines.

"At night they (the subs) had to come up and charge their batteries," Wood said.

The submarine groups were known as wolf packs — preying on known Atlantic shipping lanes.

"We would report where they (the subs) were," Wood said.

Approximately 700 ships were sunk by German wolf packs.

"We had immunity," Wood said. "The submarines did not bother with the tug because they knew how fast we could maneuver and did not want to risk losing a torpedo. The tug also had the ability to reduce its magnetic field, or degauss, which made the vessel harder to detect."

The tug was built in 1943 at the Northeast Shipbuilding Co. of Quincy, Massachusetts. It left government service in 1954 and, in 1955, was acquired by Alaska Freight Lines Inc. of Seattle, where it was renamed Richard. Next acquired in 1975 by Northland Services Inc. of Seattle, the tug was again renamed, this time as Polar Sea, according to tugboatinformation.

In 2000, the tug was acquired by an individual from Beaverton, Oregon, where she was renamed Galene, meaning goddess personifying calm seas. The current owners, Skip and Marty Suttmeier, found her in Portland, Oregon, in 2007. She is now used as a live-aboard in Seattle.

Five years ago, Wood began researching the whereabouts of the tug with local fellow WWII veteran Roy Tibbetts. They found the tug had been for sale on Craigslist on the West Coast. The recent owner of the ship had died and his wife had no use for it. That is when Wood discovered the Suttmeiers had purchased the vessel.

"We looked up the LT-464 on the computer and it led me to Skip," Wood said. "The website listed his telephone number, so I called. We talked for an hour and 27 minutes! There haven't been many weeks me and Skip don't talk."

According to Suttmeier, they managed to repair, replaced or rebuild almost everything. They worked on planks in the hull and cleaned the fuel tanks to get the main engine and generators running. They updated the navigational equipment and also made the vessel livable.

For the past nine years the Galene has been an attraction at Olympia's Harbor Days, an annual festival celebrating vintage tugboats. Wood has traveled to the festival many times over the years, where he is hailed as a celebrity of sorts.

"Galene won her race in 2013 and was fortunate to have a former crew member on deck, Stan Wood, who had sailed aboard her as a 19-year-old deckhand in the Army. As well as winning the race, she also logged over 2,000 visitors aboard in one day during the festival," according to

Wood said, "I asked Skip if I could take her for a watch." A watch is a military term meaning a four-hour shift. "I was at the wheel most of my watch.

"She was designed for ocean work," he said. "There may be three or four still in existence, but this one is the only one which is still fully functional.

"And out of 1,100 men, I am apparently the last surviving one."