Admiral John William Kime became the 19th Commandant of the United States Coast Guard on 31 May 1990. He was nominated to the position while serving as Commander, Eleventh Coast Guard District, headquartered in Long Beach, CA. During that time he also served as the Commander of the Central California Sector of the U.S. Maritime Defense Zone, Pacific; and as Coordinator of the Pacific Region of the Office of National Drug Control Policy.
Admiral Kime graduated from Baltimore City College in 1951 and from the U.S. Coast Guard Academy in 1957. He received a Master of Science degree in naval architecture and marine engineering and the professional degree of Naval Engineer from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology in 1964.
Admiral Kime served in deck and engineering assignments in the Coast Guard Cutter Casco before assuming command of Loran Station Wake Island in 1960. He served at Coast Guard Headquarters in Washington, DC in the Merchant Marine Technical and Naval Engineering Divisions. While at Headquarters, he served as the principal U.S. negotiator at the International Maritime Organization (IMO) in London during the drafting of the IMO Codes for Liquefied Gas Ships. Admiral Kime was in charge of the structural design of the Coast Guard’s Polar Star-class icebreakers. He also served as the first engineering officer in the Coast Guard Cutter Boutwell stationed in Boston.
In 1977 Admiral Kime was a distinguished graduate of the Industrial College of the Armed Forces and was assigned to Headquarters as Assistant Chief of the Merchant Marine Technical Division. He also served as both technical coordinator and as a member of the U.S. Delegation to the International Conference on Tanker Safety and Pollution Prevention in London. He assumed duty as Commanding Officer, Marine Safety Office, Baltimore in 1978. He was assigned to Headquarters in 1981 as Deputy Chief of the Office of Marine Environment and Systems.
From 1982 through 1984 Admiral Kime was assigned as Chief of the Operations Division of the Seventh Coast Guard District in Miami, where he was in charge of day-to-day operations in the Coast Guard’s drug interdiction effort in the Caribbean. He was promoted to Flag rank in 1984. In 1986 he became Chief of the Office of Marine Safety, Security and Environmental Protection in Washington, DC. His duties in this position included heading the U.S. Delegations to the IMO Maritime Safety Committee and Marine Environmental Protection Committee.
Admiral Kime’s primary focus as Commandant was to strengthen the maritime safety and environmental protection activities of the Coast Guard and his career to that point emphasized his expertise in those fields. During his tenure he led the implementation of the Oil Pollution Act of 1990 and reinforced the Coast Guard’s efforts to prevent and respond to oil and chemical spills. His concern regarding other missions was evident as well and he established the position of Drug Interdiction Coordinator. During his tenure he led the service through major international and military operations including the end of the Cold War and operations Desert Shield and Desert Storm.
Admiral Kime was a registered Professional Engineer, a member of Tau Beta Pi, Sigma Xi, ASNE and SNAME. His decorations included the Defense Superior Service Medal, the Legion of Merit, five Meritorious Service Medals with "O" device, the Coast Guard Commendation Medal, the Coast Guard Achievement Medal, three Commandant’s Letter of Commendation Ribbons with "0" device, two Coast Guard Unit Commendation Ribbons with "0" device and the Coast Guard Meritorious Unit Commendation Ribbon.
Admiral Kime crossed the bar on 14 September 2006 and was buried in Arlington National Cemetery.