Ned Weckesser Sprow was born to the late Mr. Benjamin J. and Mrs. Minnie B. Sprow on July 4, 1909, in Bryan, Ohio. After graduating from Bryan High School, he passed a competitive examination for entry into the U.S. Coast Guard at New London, Conn., and was appointed a cadet on August 13, 1928.
He was graduated from the Academy with a commission of Ensign in the U.S. Coast Guard on May 15, 1931. He received a Bachelor of Science Degree in Marine Engineering. Subsequently he advanced in rank to Lieutenant (jg), May 15, 1934; Lieutenant, December 6, 1936; Lieut. Commander, June 26, 1942; Commander, December 1, 1943; Captain, January 21, 1952; Rear Admiral, February 1, 1961.
On his first assignment he served two years out of New London and New York City with the Destroyer Shaw of the Destroyer Force operated by the Coast Guard between 1924 and 1934 in an all out suppression of smuggling. From June 1933 to December 1937, he served with the Cutter Calypso out of several ports including New York City, San Diego, and Baltimore. In January 1938, he reported to the Cutter Chelan at Boston, whose patrols often carried her into the icy regions of the North.
From November 1939 to July 1941, he was stationed aboard the Cutter Hamilton, based at Norfolk, Va. He was ordered next to Alameda, Calif., where he first was instructor at the Maritime Service Training Station there until the responsibility for training maritime personnel was transferred from the Coast Guard to the War Shipping Administration in the fall of 1942 during World War II. He then became officer at the Alameda Coast Guard Training Station.
Between September 1943 and February 1945, after assisting her in the outfitting and commissioning stages, he commanded the Coast Guard-manned patrol frigate USS Coronado (PF-38) in various campaigns of the Pacific theatre of war. He was awarded a Navy Letter of Commendation and Ribbon with a Combat Distinguishing Device for meritorious services covering an episode during the Philippine Campaign when the Coronado rescued survivors from and salvaged the SS Antoine Saugrain following its torpedoing by Japanese aircraft enroute to Leyte on December 5, 1944. Under Commander Sprow’s direction his ship rescued 226 of troops and crew who had jumped overboard under the torpedo barrage, and two other vessels rescued the remaining 187. He ordered an LT craft to tow the Antoine despite advice and opinions that she could not be salvaged. The tow was successfully conducted for 24 hours under enemy aircraft shells when a torpedo finally sank her.
After completing work with the outfitting and commissioning detail for the Coast Guard Cutter Chautauqua assigned him in March 1945, he commanded the cutter in the Pacific until September 1946. The following month he reported to Coast Guard Headquarters in Washington, D.C., as Chief, Military Morale Division. In August 1952, he became commanding officer of the Cutter Androscoggin, based at Miami, Fla.
From September 1952 to May 1955, he served as Chief, Aids to Navigation Section in the First Coast Guard District office at Boston, Mass. For the next two years he was Chief, Personnel Division at the Fourteenth Coast Guard District office at Honolulu. In August 1957, he became Chief, Aids to Navigation Division at Coast Guard Headquarters in Washington, D.C. In May 1960, he became Chief of Staff, Thirteenth Coast Guard District, with office in Seattle, Wash.
He was nominated for appointment as Rear Admiral on February 3, 1961, and received the confirmation of the Senate to rank from February 1, 1961. (He took the oath on March 24th.) Therewith he was ordered to duty as Commander, Eleventh Coast Guard District, Long Beach, Calif., effective as of April 1, 1961. He retired from that post with 35 years of service on July 1, 1966, taking with him the Legion of Merit Award for exceptionally Meritorious performance of service as district commander.
In addition to the Navy Commendation Ribbon (V), Rear Admiral Sprow’s World War II campaign and service medals and ribbons include: American Defense Service (star); American Area; Asiatic Pacific Area (4 stars); Philippine Liberation (2 stars); Philippine Independence; World War II Victory; and the Philippine Republic Presidential Unit Citation Ribbon. He also has the National Defense Service Medal covering the Korean war period, as well as the Legion of Merit.
Rear Admiral Sprow married Beulah G. of New Jersey. They have two children, Ned W., II, and Jill G.