BM1 Edgar A. Culbertson

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Born on October 13,1935, Edgar Culbertson left Lincoln High School in November 1952 to join the Coast Guard. He served on active military duty for 14 years. From 1952 to 1956, and 1958-1967 he was on active duty, and from 1956 to 1958 he was on reserve service. In early 1960, Edgar reenlisted in the United States Coast Guard and was stationed in Duluth, Minnesota.

It was during Edgar’s second enlistment period that tragedy struck. On April 30, 1967 during a major storm, he and two other guardsmen volunteered to go out and search for 3 missing brothers that were seen on a pier and it was reported that one of the brothers disappeared. During the search, a wave caught and swept Edgar off the pier. Edgar, at the age of 32, died in the rescue effort, and the three missing brothers’ bodies have never been found. Edgar A. Culbertson was posthumously awarded the Coast Guard medal for his bravery in the rescue attempt.

Edgar A. Culbertson during his service had received the National Defense Service medal with 1 bronze service star, the United Nations Service medal, the Korean Service medal, the Coast Guard Good Conduct with 2 bronze service star in 1956 and 1961, the Coast Guard Unit Commendation ribbon, and the Coast Guard medal.

We honor you, Edgar Culbertson.

(#Repost @Ferndale Historical Society)

 

PO2 Olivia J Hooker

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On Nov. 23, 1942, legislation approved the implementation of the United States Coast Guard Women’s Reserve; the program known as SPAR – the acronym derived from the translations of the Coast Guard’s motto, ‘Semper Paratus, Always Ready’ – became the foundation for women in the Coast Guard today.

In February 1945, Olivia Hooker became one of the first African-American females admitted into the United States Coast Guard when she joined the service during World War II.

On March 9, 1945, Hooker headed to boot camp. She recalled waking up at 5 a.m. every day and exercising one hour before she ate. After breakfast, she and her shipmates had to polish the floors and accomplish any other chores required of them. The SPARs had to attend class and pass exams. Basic training was held in Manhattan Beach, N.Y., and lasted six weeks.

While Hooker was one of only five African American females to first enlist in the SPAR program, she never felt discouraged in her duties because of her color. Once, an admiral addressed Hooker in person and told her to come to him if she ever had problems. Hooker said that she was very glad to have made that kind of connection in the military.

Upon graduation from basic training, Hooker specialized in the yeoman rate and remained at the training center in Manhattan Beach for nine more weeks. Once she completed yeoman training, Hooker spent her entire service time stationed in Boston. Hooker worked in the separation center, typing discharges and doing paperwork.

In June 1946, the SPAR program was disbanded and Hooker earned the rank of petty officer 2nd class as well as a Good Conduct Award. Hooker said she was one of the last yeomen left in the office and she had to type up her own discharge.

Hooker went on to earn her master’s degree in psychological services from Teachers College at Columbia University, then received her doctorate as a school psychologist from the University of Rochester. Working as a professor in New York, Hooker had a remarkable career, finally retiring when she was 87 years old.

“I would like to see more of us realizing that our country needs us,” said Hooker. “I’d like to see more girls consider spending some time in the military. It’s a good idea to have people from different kinds of orientations and experiences because it’s amazing what you can do with a different point of view. The world would really prosper from more of that.”

Hooker’s long and unforgettable life gave her an appreciation for her fellow man and a dedication to her country. The impression she has left on our society and the amazing contributions she has made will never be forgotten.

We honor you, Olivia Hooker.

(#Repost @US Coast Guard)

WO Robert Reynolds Myra

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Myra enlisted in the Coast Guard Merchant Marines in October of 1945, at the young age of 17. He served in the Stewards Department as a Messman- Utility Man. Within a months’ time, he was promoted to Warrant Officer, a very quick promotion during that era! Although his service was at the tail end of the war, the Merchant Marines were often in the most dangerous positions, as the ships were frequently targeted as a way to block the supply chain.

Years later, among his important military documents, family members found his diagram of the ships’ life boats with personal notations of where life-saving gear would be found. He seemed prepared for the worst- an unlikely characteristic of peers his age at that time. Later studies showed, that many perished due to the lack of preparation for such catastrophic events.

We honor you, Robert Myra.

(Submission by Lynda Myra)

 

 

VADM Wayne Eugene Caldwell

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Wayne Eugen Caldwell was born on Springfield, Ohio, where he graduated at the top of his high school class and was recognized as an All-Ohio football player. He attended Ohio State University for a year before enlisting in the Army in 1942. He graduated from the Army’s Civil Engineering Special Training School at Kansas State University in 1944 and then embarked on his Coast Guard career.

Admiral Calwell began his Coast Guard career as a cadet at the Coast Guard Academy, where, as captain of the football team, he was known as “the Plug” for his stalwart play as a lineman on both offense and defense. He also boxed and participated in track and field.

After receiving his undergraduate degree in marine engineering in 1948, he considered playing professional football for the Detroit Lions but decided to stay in the Coast Guard. His first tour of duty was as gunnery officer aboard the USCGC Barataria, which operated out of Portland, Maine, on shore patrol duty. I:n 1952, he returned to the academy, where he served as mathematics instructor, company tactics officer and assistant football and track coach.

His next tour of duty was in Alaskan waters as executive officer and then commanding officer of the buoy tender USCGC Hemlock. He later served in Long Beach, California, and Honolulu and earned the rank of Commander in 1965.

From 1969 to 1971, he commanded the USCGC Chase, based in Boston. The Chase was deployed to waters off the coast of Vietnam, and Admiral Caldwell was awarded the Bronze Star Medal for meritorious service. He was cited for seven anti-filtration patrols and 35 naval gunfire support missions to aid allied ground forces. Under his command, the Chase carried out a number of humanitarian missions, including providing medical treatment to more than 1,000 Vietnamese civilians.

Admiral Caldwell was next assigned to the National War College at Fort McNair and received a master’s degree in international affairs from George Washington University in 1972. That same year he returned to the Coast Guard Academy, where he served as Assistant Superintendent. He also served as Commander of the 2nd Coast Guard District in St. Louis, as chief of marine environment and systems in Washington and as Commander of the Atlantic area and the 3rd Coast Guard District at Governor’s Island. He retired in 1984.

In retirement, Admiral Caldwell indulged his lifelong passion for woodworking and made furniture for his family and toys for his grandchildren. He served as an elder at St. Mark’s Presbyterian Church in Bethesda. In 1983, he was inducted into the Coast Guard Academy’s Football Hall of Fame.

We honor you, Wayne Caldwell.

(#Repost @Arlington National Cemetery)

 

SPARS Alice “Jo” Lawson

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As World War II was coming to a close, Lawson enlisted in the U.S. Coast Guard SPARS, a women’s reservist unit. Lawson said, “I thought that was an adventure and it was.”

She would spend two years with the Coast Guard, working at a Navy Air Station Operations Office. Following that time, she’d continue living a life of adventure. “Some people go out and play golf or play tennis or whatever, and I went out to the little airport and learn how to fly,” said Lawson. It would be a few years later before returning to her hometown of Aledo.

Eventually she got married and had a family, but she had the most significant impact in her seventh-grade social studies classroom, going on to help shape other women who serve. “A remarkably positive energy,” Col. Ryan. “Whatever life throws at her, she hits it head on and does it with a smile on her face.”

And while short in stature, her influence looms large. “I wasn’t just there to teach the capitals of every state and what was in the book.” Lawson said, “I was there to teach them to be good citizens and all that jazz.” Lawson has also been involved with the Mercer County Mental Health Board and an organizer for the food shelf.

Aledo surprised her with a special recognition at their Veteran’s Day ceremony this year. They built a statue in their Armed Forces Memorial Park to recognize the service of women, and they chose Lawson as their surprise guest of honor. Aledo Police Department Lt. Nick Seefeld said, “I don’t think the women have gotten the recognition or the honor that they deserve for being in the armed forces, and this is a real daily reminder that not only are there men serving but there’s women out there putting their life on the line for our freedom too.”

We honor you, Alice Lawson.

(Submission by: Ninzel Rasmuson. #Repost @OurQuadCities.com)

ADM Edwin John Roland

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Edwin John Roland was born on 11 February 19O5, at Buffalo, NY. where he graduated from Canisius High School and attended Canisius College. Appointed a Cadet in 1926, he graduated from the U. S. Coast Guard Academy, New London, CT with a Bachelor of Science Degree in Engineering and with a commission of Ensign on 15 May 1929.

He served his earliest assignments as Gunnery Officer on board the destroyers USCGC SHAW (1929-30), and the USCGC WILKES (1930-31), which were part of the old Destroyer Force operated by the Coast Guard between l924 and 1934 in an all-out attempt to suppress smuggling. He won a commendation for being instrumental in capturing the gunnery trophy for both vessels.

In 1932 he was in charge of target observation and repair for the Destroyer Force Target Practice in the Gulf of Mexico and for Cutter Target Practice off Norfolk, VA. In September he was assigned as Navigator and Gunnery Officer on board the USCGC ESCANABA, based at Grand Haven, MI. Detached in l934, he spent the next four years at the Coast Guard Academy as an Instructor in Physics and Mathematics and an Assistant Coach for football, basketball, and baseball. During the summer cadet practice cruise of 1936 on board the USCGC CAYUGA, he participated in the evacuation of Spanish Civil War refugees.

During World War II he served as Chief, Enlisted Personnel Division at Coast Guard Headquarters, Washington, DC from May 1942 to October 1943. He next served as Commander, Escort Division a unit of Task Force 60, which escorted convoys from the United States to Mediterranean ports. His, flagship was the Coast Guard-manned destroyer escort, USS VANCE (DE-387). For meritorious performance of that duty he was awarded the Navy Commendation Ribbon.

In December 1944 he became the first Commanding Officer of USCGC MACKINAW (WAGB-83), the first heavy duty U. S. icebreaker ever built. Especially designed for work in the Great Lakes, her homeport was at Cheboygan, MI. For meritorious service while commanding that ship, he received a Coast Guard Commendation Letter. The letter cited him for icebreaking on an unprecedented scale in the Great Lakes. This permitted tidewater Navy and Army vessels and merchant vessels to pass through the ice and deliver urgently needed supplies essential to the war effort.

After completing one year of student work at the National War College in June l955, he returned to Coast Guard Headquarters to serve in the Office of the Chief of Staff. On March 16, 1956, he was assigned as Deputy Chief of Staff of the Coast Guard. With his nomination by the President and with the approval of the Senate, he was advanced to the rank of Rear Admiral effective 1 July 1956. He was subsequently assigned as Commander, First Coast Guard District, Boston. On 1 July 1960 he assumed the dual post of Commander, Eastern Area and Commander, 3d Coast Guard District, New York. With the approval of the President and the Senate, he was appointed Assistant Commandant of the U. S. Coast Guard with rank of Vice Admiral effective from 12 February 1962. He assumed the duties of that office at Headquarters on 1 February.

On 23 April 1962 he was appointed Commandant of the U. S. Coast Guard with rank of Admiral. He succeeded the retiring Admiral Alfred C. Richmond on 1 June 1962. He was relieved by Admiral Willard J. Smith and retired from the USCG on 1 June 1966 with various awards.

On July 9, 1963, ADM Roland received the Legion of Merit from the Secretary of the Treasury C. Douglas Dillon in recognition of his outstanding record in maintaining a military readiness posture “unparalleled in the peacetime history of the Coast Guard.” On 21 January 1966 ADM Roland received the Distinguished Service Medal for the service’s swift response to the Navy’s request for patrol craft to assist in coastal surveillance in South Vietnam. His also skillfully guided the handling of the Cuban Exodus operations in the Straits of Florida in 1965. ADM Roland also went to Saigon during the summer of 1965 to confer with the Naval Coastal Surveillance Forces shortly after the arrival of the 82-foot cutters in South Vietnam. Based at Danang these 82-footers constituted Coast Guard Squadron One.

It was during ADM Roland’s administration that the Coast Guard’s long sought program for modernization of its fleet with medium and high endurance cutters got underway with the launching and christening of the first major cutter built since World War II. Mrs. Roland sponsored this first vessel, the 210-ft. Medium Endurance Cutter RELIANCE (WMEC-615) at Todd Shipyards, Houston, Texas, on May 11, 1963.

ADM Roland received The American Legion Distinguished Service Medal from the Robert L. Hague Merchant Marine Industries Post No. 12142, Department of New York, on 6 November 1965. He was cited for outstanding contributions to the American Merchant Marine and Safety of Life at Sea while chairing the Safety of Life at Sea (SOLAS) Subcommittee of the Shipping Coordinating Committee. He also received recognition for being the U. S. Delegate to the Maritime Safety Committee of the Inter-Governmental Maritime Consultative Organization (IMCO) and for encouraging the inauguration and expansion of the Automated Merchant Vessel Report (ANVER ) System to both the Atlantic and Pacific Oceans.

We honor you, Edwin Roland.

(#Repost @The Patriot Files)

 

MM Vern Peters, Jr.

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Vern Peters chose to enlist in the Coast Guard because of an especially persuasive recruiting poster depicting a bare-chested seaman loading a shell into the breech. Peters completed basic training at Government Island, Alameda, California, where many of his fellow recruits were movie stars. As a Machinist’s Mate Third Class aboard the USS Tacoma, Peters tended to one of the ship’s engines and manned the 20mm gun as his ship sailed in convoys over the Atlantic and Pacific, delivering supplies and escorting other ships.

We honor you, Vern Peters Jr.

(#Repost @Veteran’s History Project)