U.S. Coast Guard Oral History Interviews (OHI) & Memoir Program


Attack on America: September 11, 2001 & the U.S. Coast Guard
 

Allen, Thad, VADM - Commander, LANTAREA & D-5 on September 11, 2001

Vice Admiral Thad Allen's OHI conducted on March 22, 2002 by PAC (& Dr.) Peter J. Capelotti, Ph.D., USCGR as part of the Coast Guard Historian's Office Operation Noble Eagle Documentation Project.

Barrett, Thomas, RADM - Commander of the Coast Guard District 17 on September 11, 2001

Vice Admiral Thomas Barrett's OHI conducted on July 2, 2002 by PAC (& Dr.) Peter J. Capelotti, Ph.D., USCGR as part of the Coast Guard Historian's Office Operation Noble Eagle Documentation Project. By the time PAC Capelotti interviewed him he had been promoted to Vice Admiral and was serving as the Vice Commandant.

Bennis, Richard, RDML - Commander, Coast Guard Activities New York, Captain of the Port, OCMI

Rear Admiral Richard Bennis's OHI conducted on May 31, 2002 by PAC (& Dr.) Peter J. Capelotti, Ph.D., USCGR as part of the Coast Guard Historian's Office Operation Noble Eagle Documentation Project.

Brown, Erroll, RADM - Commander, 13th Coast Guard District

Rear Admiral Erroll Brown's OHI conducted on May 31, 2002 by PAC (& Dr.) Peter J. Capelotti, Ph.D., USCGR as part of the Coast Guard Historian's Office Operation Noble Eagle Documentation Project.

Casto, Roy, RADM; Whitehead, Joel, CAPT; Sullivan, Richard, CAPT - 8th Coast Guard District

Rear Admiral Roy Casto's, Captain Joel Whitehead's & Captain Richard Sullivan's OHI conducted on April 11, 2002 by PAC (& Dr.) Peter J. Capelotti, Ph.D., USCGR as part of the Coast Guard Historian's Office Operation Noble Eagle Documentation Project.

Cross, Terry, RADM - Assistant Commandant for Operations (G-O)

Rear Admiral Terry Cross's OHI conducted on April 9, 2002 by PAC (& Dr.) Peter J. Capelotti, Ph.D., USCGR as part of the Coast Guard Historian's Office Operation Noble Eagle Documentation Project.

Hathaway, Jeffrey, RADM - Director, Navy Command Center & Counter-Drug Division (OPNAV N32)

Rear Admiral Jeffrey Hathaway's OHI conducted on June 20, 2002 by PAC (& Dr.) Peter J. Capelotti, Ph.D., USCGR as part of the Coast Guard Historian's Office Operation Noble Eagle Documentation Project.

Naccara, George, RADM - Commander, 1st Coast Guard District

Rear Admiral George Naccara's OHI conducted on April 2, 2002 by PAC (& Dr.) Peter J. Capelotti, Ph.D., USCGR as part of the Coast Guard Historian's Office Operation Noble Eagle Documentation Project.

Riutta, Ernest R., VADM - Commander, Pacific Area & Eleventh Coast Guard District

Vice Admiral Ernest R. Riutta's OHI conducted on August 20, 2002 by PAC (& Dr.) Peter J. Capelotti, Ph.D., USCGR as part of the Coast Guard Historian's Office Operation Noble Eagle Documentation Project.

Sirois, Robert, RADM - Director of Reserve and Training (G-WT)

RADM Robert Sirois's OHI conducted on June 24, 2002 by PAC (& Dr.) Peter J. Capelotti, Ph.D., USCGR as part of the Coast Guard Historian's Office Operation Noble Eagle Documentation Project.

Utley, Ralph, RADM; Yearout, Thomas, CAPT; Newell, Steven, CAPT - 14th Coast Guard District

RADM Jeffrey Hathaway's, Captain Thomas Yearout's & Captain Steven Newell's OHI conducted on May 16, 2002 by PAC (& Dr.) Peter J. Capelotti, Ph.D., USCGR as part of the Coast Guard Historian's Office Operation Noble Eagle Documentation Project.


Katrina, 2005
 

Castillo, Joe - Chief of Operations, 8th Coast Guard District

Captain Joe Castillo's OHI conducted on November 3, 2005 by PACS (& Dr.) Peter J. Capelotti, Ph.D., USCGR as part of the Coast Guard Historian's Office Katrina Archival & Historical Record Team (KART) project.

Colvin, Christopher, CAPT - Chief of Staff, Atlantic Area Command

Captain Christopher Colvin's OHI conducted on September 27, 2005 by PACS (& Dr.) Peter J. Capelotti, Ph.D., USCGR as part of the Coast Guard Historian's Office Katrina Archival & Historical Record Team (KART) project.

Pearson, Clifford, RADM - Commander, MLCA

Rear Admiral Clifford Pearson's OHI conducted on September 28, 2005 by PACS (& Dr.) Peter J. Capelotti, Ph.D., USCGR as part of the Coast Guard Historian's Office Katrina Archival & Historical Record Team (KART) project.


Vietnam
 

Taub, Donald M., CAPT (Retired) - Coast Guard Vietnam Veteran

Growing up in Lorain, Ohio Donald Taub graduated with the Coast Guard Academy Class of 1956. He served aboard CGCs Bibb, Duane, Castle Rock, & Spencer, the latter in Vietnam..  He also served as the commanding officer of the LORAN A Station Cape Atholl, Greenland, the northernmost Coast Guard-manned LORAN station. He also saw service in the Marine Inspection field, serving at San Francisco, New York, and in Europe.  He retired in 1982 and specializes on the history of Coast Guard operations in Greenland. OHI conducted in 2015 by Coast Guard Auxiliarist & retired Navy Chaplain Dr. Douglas Kroll, Ph.D

Villareal, Larry, ENC - Coast Guard Vietnam War Combat Veteran

Engineman Larry Villareal, USCG (Ret.) saw service in Vietnam with Coast Guard Squadron One aboard CGCs Point Mast & Point Banks. OHI conducted in 2010 by CDR Peter Rascoe, USCGR.


World War II
 

Allen, Clyde, DCC, USCG (Ret) - World War II Coast Guard Veteran & father of Admiral Thad Allen, former-Commandant, U.S. Coast Guard (2006-10).

Chief Damage Controlman Clyde Allen, USCG (Ret.) served during World War II and retired from active duty in 1965.  He held a variety of duty posts during his illustrious Coast Guard career, including the Beach Patrol, service at sea aboard USS General Hugh L. Scott and USS General H. F. Hodges, ocean station duty aboard CGC Minnetonka, LORAN station construction duty aboard CGC Kukui, a tour aboard the buoy tender Sweetbriar in Alaska, and patrol duty aboard CGC Morris.  He is the father of former-Commandant ADM Thad Allen, USCG (Ret.). OHI conducted by then-U.S. Coast Guard Assistant Historian Chris Havern.

Bell, Melvin Kealoha, ETCM - World War II Coast Guard Veteran and first minority E-9.

Born in Hilo, Hawaii on 25 January 1920, Melvin Kealoha Bell enlisted as a Mess Steward aboard the USCGC Taney on 5 November 1938. While there he struck and later was advanced to Radioman Third Class. A few months later he transferred to the USCGC Reliance. From there he was assigned to the Coast Guard Radio Station at Diamond Head Light, were he would be on duty on the morning of 7 December 1941 when the Japanese attacked Pearl Harbor. During much World War II he served as the U.S. Navy’s Fleet Reporting Unit Pacific (FRUPAC) intercepting and copying coded Japanese messages and passing them to Navy cryptologists to break. Towards the end of the war, Bell was transferred to Coast Guard Intelligence Units in Florida and Long Island New York. His post-war assignments included Sagebrush, Coast Guard Training Center in Groton, XO of USCG LORAN Station Panay Island & Casco. On 16 November 1958 he became the first Master Chief Electronics Technician (ETCM) in the Coast Guard and the first Master Chief Petty Officer of color. OHI conducted in 2014 by Coast Guard Auxiliarist & retired Navy Chaplain Dr. Douglas Kroll, Ph.D

Drew, Jack, S1c, USCGR - World War II Coast Guard Veteran

Seaman First Class Jack Drew's memoirs of his service in the Coast Guard during World War II.  Entitled "The Coast Guard Experiences & Adventures of Seaman 1st Class Jack Drew During World War II", his account covers his time in service, from boot camp at Curtis Bay, witnessing a "Drumming Out Ceremony" at Fort McHenry, to his assignments at CG station San Juan, PR, NAS St. Lucia, BWI, 3rd Naval District & New York City, & duty at sea aboard CGC's Crawford & WSC 711. Memoir was edited by W. J. Hayden, USCG (Ret.).

Finch, Florence - Coast Guard SPAR decorated for World War II Combat Operations

Questions submitted to her regarding her remarkable life and career, first as a resistance fighter in the Philippines and then as a SPAR.

Perrett, Marvin - World War II Coast Guard Veteran

A native of New Orleans, Marvin Perrett served as a coxswain of an LCVP assigned to the USS Bayfield.  He participated in the landings at Utah Beach on June 6, 1944 in the first wave.  He then went to the Pacific Theatre where he took part in the invasions of Iwo Jima and Okinawa.  In his OHI, he describes in great detail how the landing operations in an LCVP actually worked, as well as his thrilling experiences in combat at Utah Beach, Iwo Jima and Okinawa. OHI in 2003 by Scott Price, then-Deputy Historian, U.S. Coast Guard

Sargent, Thomas VADM  - "USS PC-469: The First Year in the Life of a Valiant Patrol Craft"

 Vice Admiral Thomas Sargent's first-person experiences during World War II while serving as the executive officer and commanding officer of the USS PC-469.

Sutherlin, Jack, ARM2 - World War II Coast Guard Veteran.

Born in Grand Rapids, Michigan in 1923, Jack R. Sutherlin enlisted in the Coast Guard in October of 1942. After completing recruit training at Alameda, California he attended the Coast Guard Radio Engineering School in Atlantic City, New Jersey. Nationally famous boxer Jack Dempsey was the athletic director at the school while Sutherlin was a student. He then attended Aviation Radioman School at Coast Guard Air Station San Diego. The rest of his time in the Coast Guard would be spent at that air station. While at San Diego he was involved in both search and rescue and anti-submarine missions. He served with and flew with then- LCDR Chester R. Bender, a future commandant of the Coast Guard, and legendary seaplane pilot CDR Donald MacDiarmid. His initial commanding officer was CDR Watson Burton and his final commanding officer was CDR Donald MacDiarmid. He was discharged from the Coast Guard in November 1945 as an Aviation Radioman 2nd (ARM2). OHI conducted in 2012 by Coast Guard Auxiliarist & retired Navy Chaplain Dr. Douglas Kroll, Ph.D

Williams, Keith ET1 - World War II Coast Guard Veteran

Born in rural Hugo, Colorado on 22 November 1927, Keith Williams enlisted in the Coast Guard in Seattle in 1945, attending recruit training in Alameda, California. He later attended and graduated from Electronics Technician School at the Coast Guard Training Center in Groton, Connecticut. He spent the next three years assigned to Coast Guard Operating Base, New London, Connecticut, where he was responsible for all the electronics on the lighthouses and the light ship between Rhode Island and the entrance to New York Harbor. OHI conducted in 2015 by Coast Guard Auxiliarist & retired Navy Chaplain Dr. Douglas Kroll, Ph.D.

Writer, Harriet, LTJG - World War II Coast Guard SPAR Veteran

Born Harriet Radlay on 2 February 1920 & in the fall of 1942 she dropped out of Boston University to volunteer to join the Navy WAVES. The Navy sent her to the University of Wisconsin where she attended radio school. On graduation day it was announced that the Coast Guard needed 10% of the women serving in the Navy to switch service branches. Harriet was one of those who volunteered and became a SPAR. Her first assignment was to the Aids to Navigation office in the Boston district office. After two years she was sent to the Coast Guard Academy in New London, Connecticut for officers’ training. Graduating four months later she was commissioned an Ensign and assigned to Seattle, Washington where she was tasked with writing a history of the Aleutian Islands. She later asked for a transfer back to Boston. She was reassigned to Boston to work with the then top secret LORAN program for the Northeast Atlantic Chain. She met her husband, Lee Writer, while serving in New England and they were married in 1946, the same year she was discharged from the Coast Guard at a Lieutenant (junior grade) and he from the Navy as a Lieutenant (junior grade).  OHI conducted in 2012 by Coast Guard Auxiliarist & retired Navy Chaplain Dr. Douglas Kroll, Ph.D.


Miscellaneous

 

Atkin, Thomas, RADM - Commander, U.S. Coast Guard Deployable Operations Group

OHI with Rear Admiral Knapp's Coast Guard career.

Eustis, Ralph, CDR - Commanding Officer of CGC Vigilant during Simas Kudirka defection in 1970.

OHI with Commander Ralph Eustis, USCG (Ret.) about his Coast Guard career and the events that took place on November 23, 1970 when Simas Kudirka, a Soviet seaman from Lithuania, jumped aboard his command, CGC Vigilant (WMEC 617), to defect, while off Martha's Vineyard.  What transpired became one of the more infamous incidents in Coast Guard history. OHI conducted in 2013 by then-Coast Guard Deputy Historian Scott Price & filmed by Telfair Brown. (DVIDs)

Finch, Florence - Coast Guard SPAR decorated for World War II Combat Operations

SPAR Florence Finch supplied written answers to questions submitted to her regarding her remarkable life and career, first as a resistance fighter in the Philippines and then as a SPAR.

Gracey, James, ADM & Coast Guard Commandant, 1982-1986

The Reminiscences of Admiral James S. Gracey, U.S. Coast Guard (Retired), on oral history conducted by Paul Stillwell. The interview was done as part of the U.S. Naval Institute's Oral History Program.  Admiral Gracey served as the Commandant from 1982-1986.

Hayes, John, ADM & Coast Guard Commandant, 1978-1982

The Reminiscences of Admiral John Briggs Hayes, U.S. Coast Guard (Retired), an OHI conducted by LTJG Michael Mansker. Admiral Hayes served as Commandant from 1978-1982. 

Knapp, Richard - RADM, Retired

Rear Admiral Richard Knapp's OHI from 1987 in which he discusses his illustrious Coast Guard career, transcribed by Ms. Seamond Roberts.  RADM Knapp, born in 1929, graduated with the Coast Guard Academy Class of 1951.  He saw service aboard CGCs Escanaba, Gresham, Spencer, Yeaton, Acushnet, Southwind, & Edisto, serving as the commanding officer of the last four.  He saw service in Vietnam as the Chief Staff Officer for Coast Guard Squadron One, 1965-66.  After achieving flag rank, he served as the Comptroller of the Coast Guard and Commander, 17th Coast Guard District before retiring in 1984.

Mooney, James - Coast Guard Veteran

Coast Guardsman James Mooney's memoir of his time aboard CGC Cape Strait (CG 95308) & a cutter history of Cape Strait to 1983.

Rose, Earl - CDR

Transcript of telephone conversation between Henry Morgenthau, Jr., the Secretary of the Treasury and Commander E.G. Rose, USCG, the Coast Guard representative at Coast Guard Headquarters, June 6, 1939 regarding the Coast Guard's role in the SS St. Louis affair..  Original transcript is at the Franklin Delano Roosevelt Presidential Library, Hyde Park, NY, in the Henry Morgenthau Jr. Papers, Volume 194.

Sargent, Thomas, VADM (Retired)

Autobiography of Vice Admiral Thomas Sargent III's Coast Guard career to include service during World War II and Vietnam.

Sargent, Thomas, VADM (Retired) - USS PC-469: The First Year in the Life of a Valiant Patrol Craft

 Vice Admiral Thomas Sargent's first-person experiences during World War II while serving as the executive officer and commanding officer of the USS PC-469.

Stika, Joseph - VADM (Retired)

 In 1975, Chief Marine Science Technician Dennis L. Noble interviewed retired Coast Guard Vice Admiral Joseph E. Stika (USRCS & USCG) about the early years of his remarkable career in the nation's oldest sea service.  VADM Stika joined the Revenue Cutter Service, the fore-runner of today's Coast Guard, in 1908, and served his country through two World Wars, compiling an admirable service record before retiring in 1951.  Chief Noble, who retired from the Coast Guard as a Senior Chief Marine Science Technician and later earned a Ph.D. in history, captured the only interview we now have on file of a veteran of the Revenue Cutter Service and it is fortunate that he did, as Admiral Stika passed away the year after this interview.  A noted author and historian of the Coast Guard, the Revenue Cutter Service, the Life-Saving Service, the Lighthouse Service, and most recently the small boat stations of the Coast Guard, Senior Chief [& Doctor] Noble has left us a priceless legacy that is unsurpassed in its importance to our history and we would like to thank him for his efforts.

Taub, Donald M., CAPT (Retired) - Coast Guard Vietnam Veteran

Growing up in Lorain, Ohio Donald Taub graduated with the Coast Guard Academy Class of 1956. He saw service aboard CGCs Bibb, Duane,  Castle Rock, & Spencer, the latter in Vietnamese waters.  He also saw service as the commanding officer of the LORAN A Station Cape Atholl, Greenland, the northernmost Coast Guard-manned LORAN station. He also saw service in the Marine Inspection field, serving at San Francisco, New York, and in Europe.  He retired in 1982 and specializes on the history of Coast Guard operations in Greenland. OHI conducted in 2015 by Coast Guard Auxiliarist & retired Navy Chaplain Dr. Douglas Kroll, Ph.D

Wight, Richard H., CAPT (Retired)

Captain Richard Wight describes his colorful Coast Guard career in his memoir entitled: "Coasties: My Service in the United States Coast Guard, 1952-1986."  His service included sea-duty aboard CGCs Winona, Northwind, Wachusett, Active, Minnetonka, Confidence, & Campbell.  He also saw service at LORANSTAs Spruce Cape & Estartit, Spain and staff duty with the First, Eleventh & 17th Districts.