Notable People

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Commodore John E. Whitbeck


Commodore John Elliot Whitbeck, United States Coast Guard, was born 16 September, 1891 in New York City, the son of the late John Walter and Eugenie Latour Whitbeck.  He received his early education in the New York public schools, graduating from Mars High School in 1910.  Appointed a cadet in the U.S. Coast Guard on 30 April, 1910, he received a commission as an ensign 7 June, 1913.

From June, 1913 to October, 1915 he served on board the Coast Guard cutters Itasca and Algonquin, returning to the Itasca for a year of engineering duty.  During the spring and summer of 1916 he was on the Morrill operating on the Great Lakes.

In December, 1916 he was assigned to engineering duty on the Mohawk and in February, 1917 became junior engineering officer of that vessel.  She was sunk 1 October, 1918 and in December of that year Commodore Whitbeck was assigned as Supervisor of anchorages in New York where he remained for two years.  He was awarded the Victory Medal without clasp for his participation in World War I.

In October, 1920 he was assigned to the Algonquin for Bering Sea Patrol.  He left this vessel in May, 1921 to serve on the Snohomish and then returned to the Algonquin in October, 1921.

From November 1922 to October 1923 he served on board the cutter Gresham and for the next three years was commanding officer of the Coast Guard cutter Comanche, leaving to take command of the Coast Guard Destroyer McCall.

Detached from the McCall in November, 1927 he reported at the Coast Guard Depot, Curtis Bay, Maryland and left that duty to take command of the Coast Guard Destroyer Ericsson in September, 1930.

He was attached to the New York Division for a short time and in May, 1932 was placed in command of the Destroyer Tucker.  While in command of this vessel in 193 he was commended for rescuing and transporting survivors of the U.S. Navy Dirigible Akron.

From May, 1933 to March, 1936 he served as commanding officer of the Coast Guard cutters, Acushnet, Snohomish and Red Wing and for the following three years was in command of Base Four, New London, Conn.  From November, 1939 to September, 1941 he served as Commanding Officer of the cutter Mojave, leaving that assignment to become Southern Inspector, New Orleans, La.

 In August, 1942 he was Senior Officer of the Coast Guard Base at Key West, Florida, served as District Captain of the Port at Miami, Fla., and then was designated District Coast Guard Officer of the 7th Naval District with headquarters at Miami, where he now serves.  In March, 1944 the Naval Commandant of that district assigned him as Commander, Inshore Patrol for that district.

After receiving a commission as an ensign on 7 June, 1913, he was promoted in rank as follows: lieutenant (jg) 7 June, 1918; lieutenant, 12 January, 1923; lieutenant commander, 21 April, 1924; commander, 7 October, 1935; captain, 1 December, 1941; and commodore in July, 1945.

Commodore Whitbeck married Aline G. of Graham of Washington, D.C., 9 June, 1915 at Richmond, Va.  They have a son John Graham Whitbeck and a daughter Jean Latour Pettingill .

Commodore Whitbeck is a member of AFAM, Propeller Club and Military Order of the World Wars.

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