Commodore Philip Francis Roach, United States Coast Guard, was born in Sedalia, Colo., on February 11, 1881. Appointed a cadet in the Coast Guard on May 26, 1904, he received a commission as an ensign on February 19, 1907.
His first assignment was to the Gresham, stationed at Boston, Mass. Detached from this ship in April, 1907, he served on the Tuscarora, Milwaukee, Wis., until December of that year when he was assigned to duty on the cutter Apache, Baltimore, Md. In April, 1909, he was transferred to the Rush, Seattle, Wash., for duty which included cruising Alaskan waters. Two years later he was assigned to the McCulloch, Sausalito, Calif., and in May, 1912, reported for duty aboard the cutter Seminole at Wilmington, N.C.
From June, 1912, to April, 1915, he served on the cutter Yamacraw stationed at Savannah, Ga., and then was attached to the Apache, Baltimore, Md., until October, 1916, when he reported for duty to Coast Guard Headquarters, Washington, D.C. In May, 1917, he became executive officer of the cutter Tampa, at Key West, Fla. Transferred to the Manning in July of that year at Charleston, S.C. he was on this ship when she went overseas for service during the first World War. While on duty in the European war zone, he was transferred to the SS Lydonia in July of 1918 and assumed command of this ship the following month. He later received the Navy Cross and a citation for distinguished service as commanding officer of the Lydonia while she was engaged in transporting and escorting troops and supplies to European ports through mine and submarine infested waters. For service during the war he also received the Victory Medal with Patrol Clasp.
In February, 1919, he was assigned to Coast Guard Headquarters for ordnance, personnel, and communications duty, and in November, 1921, was assigned to the cutter Seneca, New York, N.Y. Transferred to the destroyer Cassin, New London, Conn., as executive officer in August, 1924, he later became commanding officer of this ship. In November, 1926, he was placed on inspection duty at a Camden, N.J., plant building the first 165-foot patrol vessels for the Coast Guard. In February, 1927, when these vessels became part of the Offshore Patrol Force, Boston, Mass., he reported to the Commander, Eastern Division, to take over the administration duties and command of Squadron One of the Force. In addition to this assignment, he also assumed command of the Dallas, Dester, and Wolcott while these ships were attached to the Eastern Division.
In March, 1929, he was detached from the Offshore Patrol Force to become commanding officer of the Modoc, Boston, Mass., and in December, 1930, reported for duty to the Division Commander, New York Division. From February to April, 1934, he was commanding officer of the cutter Northland, Oakland, Calif., and then was assigned to the command of the Tahoe, also stationed at Oakland. In June, 1936, he reported to the Navy Yard, Philadelphia, Pa., for duty in connection with the cutter Duane and was placed in command of this ship when it was commissioned the following August.
Returning to Coast Guard Headquarters in October, 1938, he served as Chairman of the Permanent Board until April, 1942, when he became District Captain of the Port Officer, 12th Naval District, San Francisco, Calif. Later that month he was designated District Coast Guard Officer of the 12th Naval District.
After receiving a commission as an ensign on February 19, 1907, he was promoted in rank as follows: lieutenant (jg), January 1, 1908; lieutenant, August 21, 1918, lieutenant commander, January 12, 1923; commander, July 1, 1926; captain, May 25, 1939; and commodore, June 1, 1943.
Commodore Roach married Helen Bryan of Seattle, Wash., and San Mateo, Calif., in December, 1939.