List of United States Coast Guard four-star admirals

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This is a complete list of four-star admirals in the United States Coast Guard. The rank of admiral (or full admiral, or four-star admiral) is the highest rank in the U.S. Coast Guard. It ranks above vice admiral (three-star admiral).

There have been 18 four-star admirals in the history of the U.S. Coast Guard. Of these, 17 achieved that rank while on active duty and one was promoted upon retirement in recognition of combat citations. All were commissioned via the United States Coast Guard Academy or its predecessor, the School of Instruction of the United States Revenue Cutter Service.

List of admirals[edit]

The following list of four-star admirals is sortable by last name, date of rank,[1] number of years on active duty at four-star rank (Yrs),[2] year commissioned and source of commission,[3] and number of years in commission when promoted to four-star rank (YC).[4]

# Name Date of rank [1] Position Yrs [2] Commission YC [4] Notes
1 waescheRussell R. Waesche 1945-04-0404 Apr 1945   Commandant, U.S. Coast Guard, 1936–1945. 1 1906 (USRCSSI)[5] 39 (1886–1946)
2 farleyJoseph F. Farley 1946-01-0101 Jan 1946   Commandant, U.S. Coast Guard, 1946–1949. 4 1912 (USRCSSI)[5] 34 (1889–1974)
3 richmondAlfred C. Richmond 1960-06-0101 Jun 1960   Commandant, U.S. Coast Guard, 1960–1962. 2 1924 (USCGA) 36 (1902–1984) Served as Commandant of the U.S. Coast Guard from 1954 to 1960 in the rank of vice admiral.
4 rolandEdwin J. Roland 1962-06-0101 Jun 1962   Commandant, U.S. Coast Guard, 1962–1966. 4 1929 (USCGA) 33 (1905–1985)
5 smithWillard J. Smith 1966-06-0101 Jun 1966   Commandant, U.S. Coast Guard, 1966–1970. 4 1933 (USCGA) 33 (1910–2000) Superintendent, U.S. Coast Guard Academy, 1962–1965; U.S. Assistant Secretary of Transportation for Safety and Consumer Affairs, 1970–1971.
6 benderChester R. Bender 1970-06-0101 Jun 1970   Commandant, U.S. Coast Guard, 1970–1974. 4 1936 (USCGA) 34 (1914–1996) Superintendent, U.S. Coast Guard Academy, 1965–1967.
7 silerOwen W. Siler 1974-06-0101 Jun 1974   Commandant, U.S. Coast Guard, 1974–1978. 4 1943 (USCGA) 31 (1922–2007)
8 hayesJohn B. Hayes 1978-06-0101 Jun 1978   Commandant, U.S. Coast Guard, 1978–1982. 4 1946 (USCGA) 32 (1924–2001)
9 graceyJames S. Gracey 1982-05-2828 May 1982   Commandant, U.S. Coast Guard, 1982–1986. 4 1949 (USCGA) 33 (1927–       )
10 yostPaul A. Yost Jr. 1986-05-3030 May 1986   Commandant, U.S. Coast Guard, 1986–1990. 4 1951 (USCGA) 35 (1929–       )
11 kimeJ. William Kime 1990-05-3131 May 1990   Commandant, U.S. Coast Guard, 1990–1994. 4 1957 (USCGA) 33 (1934–2006)
12 kramekRobert E. Kramek 1994-06-0101 Jun 1994   Commandant, U.S. Coast Guard, 1994–1998. 4 1961 (USCGA) 33 (1939–       )
13 loyJames M. Loy 1998-05-00May 1998   Commandant, U.S. Coast Guard, 1998–2002. 4 1964 (USCGA) 34 (1942–       ) Administrator, Transportation Security Administration, 2002–2003; U.S. Deputy Secretary of Homeland Security, 2003–2005.
14 collinsThomas H. Collins 2002-05-3030 May 2002   Commandant, U.S. Coast Guard, 2002–2006. 4 1968 (USCGA) 34 (1946–       )
15 allenThad W. Allen 2006-05-2525 May 2006   Commandant, U.S. Coast Guard, 2006–2010; National Incident Commander, Deepwater Horizon oil spill, 2010. 4 1971 (USCGA) 35 (1949–       ) Remained on active duty for 36 days after stepping down as commandant while serving as National Incident Commander, Deepwater Horizon oil spill.
16 collinsRobert J. Papp 2010-05-2525 May 2010   Commandant, U.S. Coast Guard, 2010–2014. 4 1975 (USCGA) 35 (1953–       )
17 collinsPaul F. Zukunft 2014-05-3030 May 2014   Commandant, U.S. Coast Guard, 2014–present. 0 1977 (USCGA) 37 (1955–       )

Tombstone admirals[edit]

The Act of Congress of March 4, 1925, allowed officers in the Navy, Marine Corps, and Coast Guard to be promoted one grade upon retirement if they had been specially commended for performance of duty in actual combat. Combat citation promotions were colloquially known as "tombstone promotions" because they conferred the prestige of the higher rank but not the additional retirement pay, so their only practical benefit was to allow recipients to engrave a loftier title on their business cards and tombstones. The Act of Congress of February 23, 1942, enabled tombstone promotions to three- and four-star grades. Tombstone promotions were subsequently restricted to citations issued before January 1, 1947, and finally eliminated altogether effective November 1, 1959.

Any admiral who actually served in a grade while on active duty receives precedence on the retired list over any tombstone admiral holding the same retired grade. Tombstone admirals rank among each other according to the dates of their highest active duty grade.

The following list of tombstone admirals is sortable by last name, date of rank as vice admiral, date retired, and year commissioned.

Name Date of rank (VADM) Date retired (ADM) Commission [3] Notes
1 oneillMerlin O'Neill[6] 1950-01-0101 Jan 1950 1954-06-0101 Jun 1954 1921 (USCGA) (1898–1981) Commandant, U.S. Coast Guard, 1949–1954.

Timeline[edit]

The first full admiral in the United States Coast Guard was Russell R. Waesche, who served as commandant from 1936 to 1945 and was promoted to that rank on April 4, 1945. His successor as commandant, John Farley, also inherited the rank of admiral. After Farley retired on December 31, 1949, the commandant's rank was reduced to vice admiral, although Farley's successor, Merlin O'Neill, was promoted to full admiral upon retirement in recognition of combat citations. O'Neill's successor, Alfred C. Richmond, remained a vice admiral until the commandant's rank was again elevated to admiral on June 1, 1960, where it has remained ever since.[7]

Paul F. Zukunft Robert J. Papp, Jr. Thad W. Allen Thomas H. Collins James M. Loy Robert E. Kramek J. William Kime Paul A. Yost, Jr. James S. Gracey John B. Hayes Owen W. Siler Chester R. Bender Willard J. Smith Edwin J. Roland Alfred C. Richmond Joseph F. Farley Russell R. Waesche

Notes[edit]

  1. ^ a b Dates of rank are taken, where available, from the officer's official biography (U.S. Coast Guard, Commandants of the U.S. Coast Guard ).
  2. ^ a b The number of years on active duty at four-star rank is approximated by subtracting the year in the "Date of rank" column from the last year in the "Position" column.
  3. ^ a b Sources of commission are listed in parentheses after the year of commission, and include the United States Coast Guard Academy (USCGA) and the United States Revenue Cutter Service School of Instruction (USRCSSI).
  4. ^ a b The number of years in commission before being promoted to four-star rank is approximated by subtracting the year in the "Commission" column from the year in the "Date of rank" column.
  5. ^ a b Graduated from the Revenue Cutter Service School of Instruction, which became the United States Coast Guard Academy in 1915.
  6. ^ http://www.uscg.mil/history/people/MONeillBio.asp
  7. ^ U.S. Coast Guard, Commandants of the U.S. Coast Guard 

References[edit]

See also[edit]