"Where the Fleet Goes,
We've Been"

“A people who do not honor the deeds of their worthy dead will do nothing worthy of being honored by their descendants.” - Macaulay


(Glenn) Andrew Morthland was born July 23, 1911 in Los Angeles, CA. And was the only surviving child of Glen Abraham born in Minneapolis, Kansas and Mary Ramsay born in Vancleave, MS.

After graduating in 1929 from Harvard School in Los Angeles, a private Episcopal Military Academy, Andrew enrolled at Stanford University. Eager for adventure, he left Stanford temporarily to join the Coast Guard and was thrilled to serve in both Hawaii and Alaska. He also worked as a reporter for the San Francisco Chronicle before returning to Stanford to receive his degree in 1936, majoring in Philosophy.

At Stanford he met Constance Gordon-Grant born on Vancouver Island in British Columbia of British parents, and they married at the Chelsea Presbyterian Church in New York City summer of 1937 after she returned from a European trip for Paramount Studios.

Before being commissioned as Ensign in the U.S. Naval Reserve in September 1940, Andrew worked as a screen writer for MGM Studios. He began his active Naval service early in 1941 aboard the USS Firecrest AMc-33 and eventually in the course of the War from 1941-1946, took command of 6 ships; minesweepers, destroyers and transports in both the Atlantic and Pacific theaters, winning 6 medals including 2 stars for Asia-Pacific, 1 star for Philippine Liberation, and 1 star for the European-African Medal.

Of course, he was also the commanding officer of the USS Swerve AM-121 from January 23, 1944 to the time of the sinking on July 9, 1944.

After his last assignment commanding the USS Tate AK-70 assisting in the de-commissioning of the Naval Air Facility on the Galapagos Islands, Andrew went into the commercial tuna fishing business as captain of tuna clippers out of San Diego, with fishing grounds off South America and around the Galapagos islands.

Andrew commissioned his own tuna clipper, the Royal Pacific in 1951, launched from the Tacoma, WA shipyards of J M Martinac. When Star Kist canneries moved to Puerto Rico, the Royal Pacific then operated out of Puerto Rico rather than San Diego, going through the Panama Canal to the fishing grounds, catching up to 300 tons of tuna held in refrigerated salt water tanks until arrival back at the cannery.

The crew numbered around 16, mostly skilled fisherman from the Portuguese Azores Islands. The trips lasted 2-3 months. Andrew captained the Royal Pacific usually every other trip, staying home to write articles for various magazines on tuna fishing, fast cars (he loved Porsches), and flying, spending precious time with his family who had moved in 1948 from Tujunga to Laguna Beach, California where his widow continues to live in their home at age 97, with her two daughters Patricia and Joan, visiting as often as possible from Sun Valley, Idaho and Oyster Bay, New York.

In the fall of 1958, the Royal Pacific ran aground in islands off Ecuador. Andrew was on board and scheduled for next watch when he was awoken early by the warning light piercing his room. His engineer, an alcoholic given a second chance, was drunk on watch. The boat slowly sank overnight. As there was some dispute with Ecuador over fishing ground outer limits, the Navy quickly came to the rescue.

This loss was devastating for a man who loved the sea. Andrew then began working for Compotite Corporation, his father’s business, manufacturing waterproofing material based on his father’s patent, which was a substitute for lead in waterproofing the homes quickly being erected in Southern California. Andrew built the business into a nation wide company, now run by his daughter Joan, still based in their original offices in Los Angeles.

To stay close to the sea, Andrew raced his yachts, Twist and Twist II out of the Newport Harbor Yacht Club. He also owned 3 small planes, for business and fun which he kept at El Toro Marine Base where they were maintained and used for Club sport by the Marines: a Beechcraft Bonanza, Cessna Cardinal RG, and a Cessna 210 Centurion, all single engine. As the Marine base was only 20 minutes from home, Andrew loved flying from El Toro to Catalina Island for breakfast, and then home again. Such trips were a joy for his family, and Constance, although not a good sailor, loved to fly with Andrew, and got her own pilot license, seldom used, at age 65.

Andrew eventually died at home after a rewarding and adventurous life at age 80 from complications of an aortic aneurism, leaving a thriving company and a beautiful waterfront estate in Laguna Beach that including a “Captain’s Cabin” perched on the rocks, so Andrew was never was far from the sea and all that it had meant to him, having lived a full life from “sea to shining sea.”

By his loving daughter Joan Morthland Hutchins


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