Notable People

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Rear Admiral Louis W. Perkins


Rear Admiral Louis Waite Perkins was born at Waltham, Massachusetts, 9 March 1894 and received his early education in the public schools of Newton, Mass.  Following one year at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology he entered the U.S. Coast Guard Academy, New London, Conn.  Upon graduating from the Academy in 1918 he was assigned to the New York Division at New York, N.Y.

Following his appointment as Ensign on 1 August 1918, he subsequently was promoted in rank as follows: Lieutenant (jg), 20 May 1919; Lieutenant, 12 January 1923; Lieutenant Commander, 4 December 1925; Commander, 1 March 1938; Captain, 14 June 1942; Commodore, 16 March 1946, a temporary rank no longer held by Coast Guard officers.  He reverted to his permanent rank of Captain on 1 October 1949, two weeks before his nomination as Rear Admiral.  He was confirmed in the rank of Rear Admiral 13 October 1949, with date of rank from 1 December 1949.

In February 1919, he was assigned to the Androscoggin; in August 1921 to the Tallapoosa, and in November 1923, to the Seneca.  In October 1926, he was assigned as executive officer of the Unalga, stationed at Juneau, Alaska, succeeding to command of that vessel in August 1927.  In October 1928, he was assigned as executive officer of the Northland until designated executive officer of Section Base Two at New York in December 1929.

In September 1932, he was assigned command of the Escanaba, then building at Bay City, Mich.  The Escanaba was the first of five 165-foot icebreaking cutters built by the Coast Guard.  In 1935 that vessel accomplished the first pre-season opening of the Straits of Mackinac to navigation, demonstrating the capabilities of that type of vessel for ice breaking.  He was assigned to Coast Guard Headquarters, Washington, D.C., as public relations officer from October 1935, until July 1936, when he was transferred to the Coast Guard Academy for four years duty as commandant of cadets.

He was next assigned command of the Itasca in June 1940.  When that vessel was delivered to the British Government in May 1941, he took command of the Navy Transport Hunter Liggett.  He remained on that vessel until he was appointed Assistant District Coast Guard Officer, 12th Naval District, San Francisco, Calif. in June 1943.

When in March 1946, the office of Commander, North Atlantic Ocean Patrol was created at Argentia, Newfoundland, he was assigned to command.  The command included, in addition to operation of weather ships, collateral duties as commander, International Ice Patrol and commander, Greenland Patrol, as well as operational control over the U.S.-manned North Atlantic Loran Stations in Greenland, Labrador and Newfoundland.  When budgetary limitations required a reduction in the program, the command was disestablished, and Rear Admiral Perkins was appointed Commander, 2nd Coast Guard District, St. Louis, Missouri in September 1947.  In January 1951, he assumed command of the 14th Coast Guard District, Honolulu, T.H., and in September 1953, followed with an assignment as command of the 13th District, Seattle, Washington.

During World War I, Rear Admiral Perkins, then holding the rank of Ensign, served in New York as a supervisor of loading explosives.  When the United States entered World War II he was in command of the Navy Transport Hunter Liggett, one of three such vessels which were wholly manned by Coast Guard officers and men.  The Liggett was the flagship of Transport Division Three, Amphibious Force U.S. Atlantic Fleet.  Until April 1942, the vessel was engaged in training Army and Marine Troops on the East Coast.  Assignment to the South Pacific Area was then made, the vessel taking an Army mobile hospital group with troops to Tonga Island in the Friendly Group.  The Amphibious Force then proceeded to New Zealand for training.  The Liggett participated in the initial seizure and occupation of Guadalcanal 7-10 August 1942, and was credited fro having shot down four enemy bombers during that period.  Until Rear Admiral Perkins' detachment in June 1943, the vessel was engaged in transporting troops and supplies to Guadalcanal.

Between the two World Wars Rear Admiral Perkins served at sea in all the waters surrounding the United States from Ice Patrol in the Grand Banks of Newfoundland to the Gulf of Mexico; from San Diego, California to the Bering Sea, and on the Great Lakes.  In addition to serving two years on the Unalga in Alaskan waters, he made two cruises to the Bering Sea on the Northland and Itasca.

Rear Admiral Perkins was awarded the Cross of the Crown of Italy in 1935 for the support to the flight of general Balbo from Rome to Chicago. He holds Victory medals for both World Wars, the American Defense, American Theatre and the Asiatic Theatre medals.

 Rear Admiral Perkins was married in 1926 to Gertrude Murphy of Chicago, who died early in 1949.  He was married to Gladys M. R. of St. Louis, Mo., in 1950.  He was three daughters, Patricia and Sue Perkins, and Jane Reeves.

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