A movie featuring the Coastal Picket Patrol and its generally unknown yet strategic role in protecting the U.S. Coast during World War II will be shown on Wednesday, March 19, from 5:30 to 6:30 p.m. at the Chilmark Public Library.

During the initial involvement of the United States in World War II, the U.S. Navy and Coast Guard Reserve were short-staffed and short on vessels to protect the shipping channels along the Eastern seaboard. German U-boats and submarines were threatening American Merchant Marine vessels in the Atlantic Ocean just off U.S. soil.

To protect U.S. economic interests, members of the Cruising Club of America offered to patrol the coast, allowing the Navy and Coast Guard to focus on military efforts.

This motley crew of private yacht and commercial fishing boat owners commonly referred to as the Hooligan Navy or Corsair Fleet painted their vessels gray, outfitted them with guns, and placed themselves at risk against enemy forces. These vigilante heroes became members of the Coastal Picket Patrol, the eyes and ears of the U.S. Navy.

Within a year, the Coast Guard began enlisting crew to back up their brigades, while the German threat abated with the technological advancement of radar. Soon after, the Coastal Picket Patrol was disbanded.

The movie is sponsored by the Friends of the Chilmark Public Library. Admission is free and all are welcome for the film, popcorn and soft drinks. For details, call 508-645-3360.