Thomas Reece Sargent III was born on December 20, 1914, in London, England, and was naturalized a United States citizen with his parents in 1930 at Niantic, Connecticut. He attended Hudson (Mass.) High School and Bulkeley High School, New London, Connecticut, graduating from the latter in 1933.
Entering the U. S. Coast Guard Academy, New London, Connecticut, with an appointment as Cadet on August 1, 1934, he was graduated with a B. S. Degree and with a commission of Ensign on June 2, 1938.
During his four years as a Cadet he was active as a member of the Boxing Squad and as a Letterman on the Cross Country Team.
As a junior officer on his first assignment he served in various capacities from Communications Officer and Line Officer to Assistant Engineer on board the cutter Tahoe which operated out of New Bedford, Massachusetts, on the International Ice Patrol and other missions in the North Atlantic.
From August 1939 to July 1942, during World War II, he served as a Line Officer and Assistant Engineer in the Cutter Modoc (WPG-46) on the Greenland Patrol and on convoy escort duties. During the following year he served first as Executive Officer and Engineer Officer and then as Commanding Officer of the Coast Guard-manned Navy Sub-Chaser USS PC-469 on convoy escort duty on the Caribbean Frontier. From May 1943 to April 1944, he served as Engineer Officer in the combat cutter Duane (WPG-33) on North Atlantic convoy escort duty. During the remainder of the war he commanded the patrol frigate USS Sandusky (PF-54) of Escort Division 33 in the Philippine Campaign. For that service he was awarded the Bronze Star Medal.
From June 1945 to September 1950, he was assigned at the Coast Guard Academy as Maintenance Officer, Administrator of Reserve Officers Training School, and as Instructor of Communications. After completing a tour of duty as Executive Officer of the cutter Bibb (WPG-31), based at Boston, he was assigned, in April, 1951, as a student at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, Troy, New York. He was awarded a Bachelor of Civil Engineering Degree there in October, 1952. With that he was assigned for the next two years as Chief, Civil Engineering Section, 13th Coast Guard District, Seattle, Washington.
From November 1954 to September 1956, he commanded the cutter Winnebago (WPG-40) out of Honolulu. He served his next tour of duty as Assistant Chief, Aids to Navigation Division at Coast Guard Headquarters in Washington, D. C. In July of 1959 he was ordered to the 9th Coast Guard District Office in Cleveland, Ohio, where he served as Chief, Civil Engineering Section for two years. In June, 1961, he returned to Coast Guard Headquarters to serve as Chief, Civil Engineering Division for five years. While in that post he supervised the development and construction of a chain of Coast Guard LORAN [Long Range Aids to Navigation] Transmitting Stations in Thailand and in Vietnam for which he was awarded the Legion of Merit.
In August of 1966 he became Chief, Operations Division at the 11th Coast Guard District, Long Beach, California, which covers Coast Guard activities within the boundaries of Southern California, Southern Nevada, Southwestern Utah and Arizona. While in that post as a Captain, he was nominated by the President for two-star flag officer on December 15, 1966, and following the approval of the Senate, was appointed permanent Rear Admiral as of July 1, 1967. With that promotion he served as Commander of the 11th Coast Guard District until May, 1968, winning a Coast Guard Commendation Medal for meritorious achievement while holding that post.
In June 1968, the then Rear Admiral Sargent returned to Headquarters a third time but in the post of Chief of Staff of the U. S. Coast Guard. By nomination of the President on April 24, 1970, and confirmation of the Senate on May 26, 1970, he was appointed Assistant Commandant of the U. S. Coast Guard with the rank of three-star Vice Admiral effective on July 1, 1970. On October 2, 1972, in accordance with Public Law 92-451, his title was changed from Assistant Commandant to Vice Commandant.
The following is a resume of VADM Sargent's promotions in rank: Ensign, June 2, 1938; Lieutenant (jg), July 28, 1941; Lieutenant, June 26, 1942; Lieutenant Commander, December 1, 1943; Commander, January 26, 1951; Captain, July 1, 1960; Rear Admiral, July 1, 1967; Vice Admiral, July 1, 1970.
In addition to the Legion of Merit, Bronze Star Medal with Combat "V" device and Coast Guard Commendation Medal, VADM Sargent has the following campaign medals and ribbons: American Defense with "A"; American Campaign; European-African-Middle Eastern Area; Asiatic-Pacific Area; Philippine Liberation; Philippine Presidential Unit Citation Badge; World War II Victory and the National Defense Service Medal.
VADM Sargent retired from active duty on July 1, 1974. He crossed the bar on 29 May 2010.
Fair winds Admiral.