Vice Admiral Scarborough became the thirteenth officer to hold the post as second in command of the smallest of the nation's five armed forces on July 1, 1978.
A 1944 graduate of the United States Merchant Marine Academy (Kings Point), Admiral Scarborough entered the Coast Guard in 1949 following service as an officer in the Navy and Merchant Marine. He maintains a license as Master of ocean steam and motor vessels of unlimited tonnage. Serving in various geographical areas both ashore and afloat, his numerous earlier Coast Guard assignments were in the fields of general operations, personnel, and public information including both command afloat and command ashore as Group Commander and Captain of the Port. Previous assignments as a flag officer have been as Commander, Ninth Coast Guard District; Chief, Office of Operations, U.S. Coast Guard; and Chief of Staff of the U.S. Coast Guard.
Admiral Scarborough is a 1963 graduate of the Armed Forces Staff College and a 1971 graduate of the National War College. He has earned bachelor and master of business administration degrees from the University of Hawaii as well as a master of science degree in international affairs from the George Washington University. He is a member of Beta Gamma Sigma honorary fraternity.
His military awards include the Legion of Merit with gold star, Meritorious Service Medal, Coast Guard Commendation Medal, all World War II theater medals, and the Coast Guard Distinguished Service Medal in August of 1980.
He was born on March 12, 1923, in Hawkinsville, Georgia, and received his early education in that state. Married on July 1, 1946, he and his wife, the former Walterene B. of Shawnee, Oklahoma, have two sons, Robert Henry III, and James Burton.
Chronology of Duty Assignments
Born on March 12, 1923 in Hawkinsville, Georgia, Admiral Scarborough attended public schools in Hawkinsville and Toccoa, Georgia, and was graduated from Hawkinsville High School in 1940. He attended North Georgia (Military) College at Dahlonega, Georgia before appointment as a cadet midshipman in the United States Merchant Marine Cadet Corps, United States Merchant Marine Academy (Kings Point) in 1942. He served in various theaters of war on board the SS Black Hawk, M/V Brandywine, and the U.S. Army Hospital Ship Seminole, including participation in the Sicilian invasion while still a cadet. Upon graduation from the Cadet Corps, in May of 1944, he was licensed as third mate in the United States Merchant Marine. Concurrently, he was commissioned as Ensign, United States Naval Reserve.
After serving in various capacities as a licensed officer on board the U.S. merchant vessels Catawba, Ford, Four Lakes, Beecher Island, and Antietam, he was assigned as Chief Officer of the T-2 type steam tankers, Opequon and Saguaro. In July of 1946, he was advanced to the provisional rank of Lieutenant Commander in the United States Maritime Service.
After World War II, he held a position as methods engineer for experimental production with R.G. LeTourneau, Inc., manufacturers of heavy grading equipment, in Longview, Texas, a firm which had employed him for one year prior to the war in its Toccoa, Georgia, plant as a time-study man. He returned to sea on active duty as a Naval Reserve Officer from his civilian job and remained on active duty in the Navy until entering the Coast Guard, his last Navy assignment being on board the destroyer, USS Allen M. Sumner (DD 692).
Entering the Coast Guard as a Lieutenant (Junior Grad) on November 30, 1949, he served for eight months on various temporary assignments, including the Coast Guard Cutter Tampa and Triton, both vessels operating in the Gulf of Mexico. In August of 1950 he began serving on board the Coast Guard Cutter Ingham, a North Atlantic Ocean “weather” Station vessel based out of Norfolk, Virginia as First Lieutenant.
Twelve months later he was assigned as a District Duty Officer in the Fifth Coast Guard District Rescue Coordination Center in Norfolk. In April of 1952 he was designated District Public Information Officer, Administrative Assistant and Aide to the Commander, Fifth Coast Guard District.
In April 1955, he became Operations Officer on board the Coast Guard Cutter Chincoteague, an ocean station vessel operating out of Norfolk.
From March 1957 until August 1959, he served as District Public Information officer on the staff of the Commander, Third Coast Guard District offices in New York City.
His assignment from August 1959, to January 1961 was as Commanding Officer, Coast Guard Cutter Dione, a rescue and law enforcement vessel operating out of Freeport, Texas.
The next eighteen month were spent as Commander, Coast Guard Group Sabine and Captain of the Port for the Texas-Louisiana maritime area, including the ports of Beaumont, Orange, Port Arthur, and Lake Charles.
Following graduation from the Armed Forces Staff College in January 1963, he remained in the Norfolk-Portsmouth, Virginia area for assignments as Executive Officer of Coast Guard Group and Captain of the Port, Norfolk; Chief of the Fifth Coast Guard District Readiness Branch; and for a second tour on the Cutter Ingham, this time as Executive Officer from May 1964 to August 1966.
His assignment for the next three-year period was on the Pearl Harbor based staff of the Commander Antisubmarine Warfare Force Pacific (now Commander Third Fleet, U.S. Navy) in operational and planning posts and as liaison for the Commander, Western Area, U.S. Coast Guard. For the next year he was Chief, Personnel Division of the Fourteenth Coast Guard District, Honolulu, Hawaii.
In August 1970, he went to Washington, D.C. to attend the National War College. Graduating the following summer, he was assigned to Coast Guard Headquarters as Chief, Enlisted Personnel Division in which post he was serving when selected for flag rank in January 1973.
Reassigned at Headquarters to be Deputy Chief, Officer of Operations in June 1973, Admiral Scarborough acceded to the post of Chief, Officer of Operations in May 1974.
Admiral Scarborough became Chief of Staff of the U.S. Coast Guard on August 28, 1975. He then served as Commander, Ninth Coast Guard District, Cleveland, Ohio from July 29, 1977 until assuming his present post as Vice Commandant of the U.S. Coast Guard on July 1, 1978.
Chronology of Coast Guard Promotions
Following his initial appointment in the Coast Guard as Lieutenant (Junior Grade) on November 30, 1949, he was subsequently promoted as follows: Lieutenant on August 26, 1952; Lieutenant Commander on July 1, 1959; Commander on July 1, 1964; Captain on July 1, 1969. Selected for promotion to flag grade on January 1973, his date of rank as Rear Admiral is June 1, 1974. Nominated by President Carter to be Vice Commandant of the Coast Guard, he was promoted to the rank of Vice Admiral on July 1, 1978.
Medals and Awards
Legion of Merit, Meritorious Service Medal, Coast Guard Commendation Medal, American Campaign, European-African-Middle Eastern Campaign (w/stars), Asiatic Pacific Campaign, World War II Victory, National Defense, Vietnam Service (w/stars), Merchant Marine Combat, Merchant Marine Atlantic War Zone, Merchant Marine Mediterranean-Meddle East War Zone, Merchant Marine Pacific War Zone, and Merchant Marine World War II Victory.