Many people do not know that the first military action that took place in World War II was not at Pearl Harbor. The United States Coast Guard was involved in the first wartime capture of a German vessel in September of 1941. The fishing vessel “MV Buskoe,” was acting suspiciously, and after lurking around Greenland the USS Northland, a Coast Guard Cutter on Greenland patrol boarded the fishing vessel. After the fishermen were routinely questioned, they searched the vessel. The Coast Guard crew found 27 Norwegians on board, which was suspicious because by this because Germany had already invaded Norway in April of 1941, so by being Norwegian the crew was under suspicion as possible infiltrators.
After talking closely to the crewmembers, nothing was discovered until the vessel itself was searched. The Coast Guard found proof that the fishing vessel was serving German outpost radio stations including various German Radio equipment on board the Busko.
After seizing the crew and further questioning it was discovered that the fishing vessel had dropped off a German crew several hundred miles away. The crew was arrested and held, and the Coast Guard Cutter USS Northland immediately set sail by its Commander Von Paulsen, to try and find the dropped off insurgents, and the enemy radio base. They were able to discover the location after steaming for about 24 hours straight. They surrounded the radio station, and captured three Norwegian commandos, radio gear, codes, and confidential German instructions. The men were taken into custody and arrested as illegal immigrants because war had not been declared formally. Further investigation found that Norwegian German agents replaced all of the Norwegian crewmembers of the Busko.
The Coast Guard placed a special crew on the MV Busko, and took the captured vessel and returned to their base with the fishing vessel. But it was the first military capture that occurred during World War II, not at Pearl Harbor, but by a U.S. Coast Guard Crew operating in defense of the shores of the United States, in Greenland. A Coast Guard Crew, working independently, captured a hostile party of men proven to be German Agents, three months before war was declared, and it is an example of the sort of quiet bravery that marks the United States Coast Guard.