James S. Gracey

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James S. Gracey
James S Gracey.jpg
Born (1927-08-24) August 24, 1927 (age 91)
Newton, Massachusetts, U.S.
Allegiance United States
Service/branch United States Coast Guard
Years of service1945–1986
RankUSCG O-10 shoulderboard.svg Admiral
Commands heldCommandant of the Coast Guard
Battles/warsVietnam War
Korea War

James Steele Gracey is a former United States Coast Guard admiral who served as the 17th Commandant of the United States Coast Guard from 1982 to 1986.

Gracey was born in Newton, Massachusetts and is the son of Ernest J. Gracey and Edna S. Gracey. Following graduation from Needham High School in Needham, Massachusetts,[1] he accepted an appointment to the United States Coast Guard Academy in New London, Connecticut. While a cadet at the Academy, he served as Battalion Commander and captain of the baseball team. He was also a member of the soccer and rifle teams. Following graduation in June 1949, he agreed to remain at the Academy until the following September as a tactical instructor. From 1951 to 1953, he was stationed at the Port Office in Boston, Massachusetts. Between March and May 1953 he attended the LORAN Indoctrination School at Coast Guard Training Station, Groton, CT. After completing the course he commanded the LORAN Transmitting Station, Ocean Cape, Yakutat, AK, for one year. He entered Harvard University in 1954, receiving a Master of Business Administration in 1956.[2] He then returned to the Academy for a brief assignment as Assistant Tactics Officer and Baseball coach from June to September 1954. During the following two years he was a student at the Harvard Graduate School of Business Administration where he received an MBA in June 1956. As part of his work at Harvard, he spent the summer of 1955 in Industry Training at Norton Company, Worcester, MA. From July 1956 to July 1960, he served at Coast Guard Headquarters, Washington, DC, as a Branch Chief in the Supply Division. During the following two years he commanded the buoy tender Mariposa out of New London, CT. The ship serviced aids to navigation along the seacoast of Connecticut and Long Island and broke ice on the Hudson River From September 1962 to April 1965, he served as Comptroller, Second Coast Guard District, St. Louis, MO with collateral duties that included Cadet Procurement in Kansas and Missouri. He then transferred to the Third Coast Guard District staff in New York to serve as assistant Project Officer for the conversion of Fort Jay, Governors Island from an Army post to a Coast Guard facility. His duties included developing the organization for the host command and planning all the Island’s "humanities." For that duty he was awarded the Secretary of Treasury Commendation for Achievement Ribbon. From March 1966 to June 1969, he was Executive Officer of the Coast Guard Base at Governors Island for which he received a Coast Guard Letter of Commendation. His special duties during that period included community relations with the large Island population and labor relations, including negotiating contracts with several different unions.

Gracey served in a number of Flag Officer assignments prior to becoming Commandant, including Commander of the Cleveland-based Ninth Coast Guard District, with responsibility for the Great Lakes area; Commander of San Francisco-based 12th Coast Guard District and Pacific Area, with responsibility for the Pacific Ocean area; and Commander of the Governors Island, New York-based 3rd Coast Guard District and Atlantic Area, with responsibility for the U.S. Eastern seaboard and Gulf Coast.

Dates of rank[edit]

Ensign Lieutenant, Junior Grade Lieutenant Lieutenant Commander Commander Captain
O-1 O-2 O-3 O-4 O-5 O-6
USCG O-1 insignia.svg USCG O-2 insignia.svg USCG O-3 insignia.svg USCG O-4 insignia.svg USCG O-5 insignia.svg USCG O-6 insignia.svg
June 3, 1949 ~1951 ~1954 ~1959 ~1965 July 1969
Commodore Rear Admiral Vice Admiral Admiral
O-7 O-8 O-9 O-10
USCG O-7 insignia.svg USCG O-8 insignia.svg USCG O-9 insignia.svg USCG O-10 insignia.svg
Never held October 1, 1974 July 1, 1978 May 28, 1982

See also[edit]


  1. ^ http://www.uscg.mil/history/WEBORALHISTORY/Gracey_Interview_1_12.pdf
  2. ^ USCG Historian's Office. "James S. Gracey". Retrieved October 2, 2012.
Military offices
Preceded by
John B. Hayes
Commandant of the Coast Guard
Succeeded by
Paul A. Yost Jr.