Notable People

(displayed alphabetically by last name)


 


Rear Admiral Richard D. Schmidtman

PRINT | E-MAIL

Richard Dittrich Schmidtman was born the son of Mr. and Mrs. William F. Schmidtman on September 5, 1909, in Washington, D.C., where he later attended McKinley Technical High School, Emerson Institute, and George Washington University.  He was a Lieut. Colonel, Regimental Commander, of the Washington High School Cadet Corps, in 1927.

He entered the U.S. Coast Guard Academy in New London, Conn., as a cadet on August 12, 1929.  As a cadet he won the Class of 1927 Sword for Excellence in Military Science and Drills, and the Rosenthal Award for Mathematics.  He was President of the Academy Athletic Association in 1932, and that same year was also Battalion Adjutant of the Cadet Corps, and business manager of the Academy year book “Tide Rips”.  He was founder and first editor of the Cadet Handbook, “The Running Light”.

He was graduated and commissioned an Ensign in the Coast Guard on May 16, 1932, and subsequently advanced to: Lieutenant (jg), May 16, 1935; Lieutenant, March 1, 1938; Lieut. Commander, June 15, 1942; Commander, December 21, 1943; Captain, August 12, 1952; Rear Admiral, June 1, 1962.

During his earliest assignments he was stationed with the New London Division of the old Destroyer Force which the Coast Guard operated between 1924 and 1934 in an all-out suppression of smuggling.  Afterward he served aboard the Cutters Saranac, Thetis, Algonquin, and Mojave in the Atlantic and in the Gulf of Mexico.  He next served for a year as machinery superintendent at the Coast Guard Yard in Curtis Bay, Md.  In July 1938, he was assigned as a student at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology where he received the Degree of Master of Science in Naval Construction and Engineering in February 1941.

World War II

After a temporary assignment at Coast Guard Headquarters in Washington, D.C., he served from April 1941 to June 1944, during World War II, as resident chief inspector at the Toledo Shipbuilding Co., Inc., Ohio.  Under his cognizance at that time were the construction and outfitting of the Coast Guard icebreaker Mackinaw for aiding shipping on the Great Lakes, and the Cutters Storis, Almond, Arrowood, and Chapparal.  Within the next year, he established and commanded a Coast Guard Research Unit at the University of California to assist in research projects on the design and methods of construction of welded steel merchant ships.

Post War

From July 1945 to March 1946, he served first as executive officer and later as commanding officer of the Coast Guard-manned attack troop transport USS Leonard Wood (APA-12), which was the first ship assigned to carrying troops home from the Pacific in what was known as the “Magic Carpet” operation.

He was assigned for the next five post-war years to the staff of the Engineer-in-Chief at Coast Guard Headquarters.  During that period he prepared the Final Report of the Board to Investigate the Design and Methods of Construction of Welded Steel Merchant Vessels.  He also became the first Secretary of the Ship Structure Committee and Subcommittee permanently established on July 25, 1946, by the Secretary of the Treasury to succeed the previously mentioned Board.  He received the Coast Guard Commendation Medal for outstanding performance of duty in that post.  He also served as Acting Chief of the Testing and Development Division in 1945 and 1946.

From May 1951 to June 1952 he commanded the 311-ft. Cutter Coos Bay, an ocean station (weather) patrol vessel based at Portland, Maine.  Afterward he became Chief, Engineering Division at the Ninth Coast Guard District office in Cleveland, Ohio.  In June 1954, he was assigned as Chief, Naval Engineering Division at Coast Guard Headquarters.

In June 1958, he assumed command of the Coast Guard 269-ft. icebreaker Eastwind, veteran of the North and South Poles, stationed at Boston, Mass.  He commanded the icebreaker on the 1958 and 1959 Military Sea Transportation Service sea-lift operations in the Arctic as a unit of Navy Task Force Six, during which she performed ice escort duty for Task Force cargo vessels, prepared landing beaches for construction of Distant Early Warning (DEW Line) Stations in both West and East Greenland, constructed an un-manned radio beacon and provided escort for Arctic cable-laying operations.  He also commanded the icebreaker on her assignment with the U.S. Naval Support Force (Task Force 43) for Scientific Projects in Antarctica on “Operation Deep Freeze”, 1959-60.

His next tour of duty was as Chief, Operation Division at the First Coast Guard District office in Boston from June 1960 to May 1961.  At that time he was transferred to Coast Guard Headquarters to duty as Assistant Chief, Office of Operations.  While serving in that capacity, Captain Schmidtman was nominated by President Kennedy on January 31, 1962, for the permanent rank of Rear Admiral.  With consent of the Senate, the appointment became effective on June 1, 1962, at which time he assumed the post of Chief, Office of Operations.

On November 1, 1963, Rear Admiral Schmidtman transferred to Seattle, Washington, to assume the post of Commander, Thirteenth Coast Guard District.  Retired on July 1, 1967 from this post.

RADM Schmidtman’s World War II campaign service medals and ribbons include: Coast Guard Commendation Medal; American Defense Service; American Area; Asiatic-Pacific Area; World War II Victory.  He also has the National Defense Service Medal (Korean); and the Antarctic Medal, as well as the Coast Guard Expert Rifleman’s Medal.

RADM Schmidtman’s wife is the former Midlred Elizabeth G. of Waterford, Conn.  They have one daughter, Mildred Anne, wife of Lieutenant Neil F. Kendall, USCG; and two sons, Richard W. and John G., Ensign, U.S. Coast Guard, Academy Class of 1962. 

RADM Schmidtman holds memberships in the Newcomen Society; Society of Naval Architects and Marine Engineers; American Society of Naval Engineers; and the Naval Institute.

Does your biography need to be corrected, updated, or added?  Please contact us at history@uscg.mil for assistance.