Owen W. Siler

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Owen W. Siler
Owen W Siler.jpg
Birth name Owen Wesley Siler
Born (1922-01-10)January 10, 1922
Seattle, Washington, U.S.
Died July 17, 2007(2007-07-17) (aged 85)
Atlanta, Georgia, U.S.
Buried Savannah, Georgia, U.S.
Allegiance  United States
Service/branch  United States Coast Guard
Years of service 1943-1978
Rank USCG O-10 shoulderboard.svg Admiral
Unit USCGC Taney
Commands held Commandant of the Coast Guard

World War II

Occupation of Japan
Cuban refugee crisis of 1965
Awards Legion of Merit ribbon.svg Legion of Merit
Meritorious Service Medal ribbon.svg Meritorious Service Medal
Coast Guard Unit Commendation ribbon.svg Coast Guard Unit Commendation
American Defense Service Medal ribbon.svg American Defense Service Medal
American Campaign Medal ribbon.svg American Campaign Medal
Asiatic-Pacific Campaign Medal ribbon.svg Asiatic-Pacific Campaign Medal
World War II Victory Medal ribbon.svg World War II Victory Medal
Army of Occupation ribbon.svg Navy Occupation Service Medal
National Defense Service Medal ribbon.svg National Defense Service Medal
Website http://www.uscg.mil/

Owen Wesley Siler (January 10, 1922 – July 17, 2007) was a United States Coast Guard admiral who served as the fifteenth Commandant of the U.S. Coast Guard from 1974 to 1978.

Early life and education[edit]

Siler was born in Seattle, Washington and grew up in Santa Maria, California where he attended Santa Maria High School.[1] He graduated from Santa Maria Junior College (now Allan Hancock College) in 1940, and transferred to the United States Coast Guard Academy in New London, Connecticut, graduating a year early due to World War II.[2] Upon graduation, he was assigned to the assault troop transport ship, USS Hunter Liggett, and participated in the invasion of Bougainville. Siler received a Master of Science degree in International Affairs from George Washington University's Elliott School of International Affairs in 1968.[1]


During World War II, Siler quickly advanced through the ranks, serving as a gunnery officer, assistant navigator, and deck watch officer. In the immediate aftermath of the war, he participated in the U.S. occupation of Northern Honshū, Japan.

Upon returning to the United States in April 1946, he briefly served as a personnel officer at the U.S. Coast Guard Training Center in Alameda, California, before his assignment as navigator of USCGC Taney.

His career with the U.S. Coast Guard included serving as a deck officer afloat, as an aviator performing search and rescue patrols, and ashore in the law enforcement, marine safety and environmental protection fields. Other assignments included chief of the search and rescue branch in Juneau, Alaska, deputy chief of staff in Washington, and commanding officer at Air Station Miami, where the station received a Coast Guard unit commendation for Cuban exodus operations during October and November 1965.

From 1971 until his appointment as Commandant, he served as Commander of the St. Louis-based 2nd Coast Guard District.

During Siler's tenure as commandant he instituted a minority recruiting program and was instrumental in having women admitted to the U.S. Coast Guard Academy, making it the first of the military service academies to do so. He also oversaw the expansion of the U.S. Coast Guard's marine environmental protection program, with the passage of the Fisheries Conservation and Management Act of 1976, to include an increase of the service's jurisdiction along the U.S. coastline to more than two million square miles.

Siler was the last World War II veteran to serve as Commandant.

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 9, 1943 April 1, 1944 November 1, 1945 August 26, 1952 July 1, 1959 July 1, 1965
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 July 1, 1971 Never held June 1, 1974

Later life and death[edit]

Following his retirement from the U.S. Coast Guard, Siler moved to Savannah, Georgia. He died in Savannah, Georgia from complications of heart failure on July 17, 2007, at the age of 85, and is buried in Arlington National Cemetery.

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b "OBITUARY: ADM. OWEN W. SILER". US Coast Guard Headquarters. Archived from the original on September 27, 2007.
  2. ^ "From the California Coast to Coast Guard Commandant:". Foundation for California Community Colleges. Archived from the original on December 23, 2010.

External links[edit]

Military offices
Preceded by
Chester R. Bender
Commandant of the U.S. Coast Guard
Succeeded by
John B. Hayes