Remembering a WWII Coast Guardsman

Vice Admiral Thomas Sargent III, 11th Vice Commandant of the Coast Guard (U.S. Coast Guard photo)

Vice Admiral Thomas R. Sargent III, 11th Vice Commandant of the Coast Guard (U.S. Coast Guard photo)

Earlier this week, the remains of Vice Admiral Thomas R. Sargent III were interred at Arlington National Cemetery. A World War II hero and member of the Greatest Generation, Sargent rose to the rank of vice commandant of the Coast Guard before retiring from the service in 1974.

As an ensign, Sargent served aboard the Cutter Modoc on the Greenland Patrol and on convoy escort duties at the beginning of World War II. LCDR Sargent was awarded the Bronze Star as the commanding officer of the patrol frigate USS Sandusky escorting war ships as part of the Allies’ Philippine Campaign. On July 1, 1970 Vice Admiral Sargent became the 11th Vice Commandant of the Coast Guard.

“Vice Adm. Sargent epitomized our core values of honor, respect and devotion to duty,” said Vice Adm. Sally Brice-O’Hara, vice commandant, U.S. Coast Guard, adding, “He answered our Nation’s call to duty in war, serving in each of the World War II major naval combat zones, as well as in peace by guarding our waters and protecting the mariners who use them.”

Vice Admiral Sargent was a founder of the Association For Rescue At Sea, Inc. (AFRAS). As the organization’s first chairman, Sargent established the AFRAS Gold Medal – presented annually to an enlisted man or woman for an act of extraordinary bravery during a rescue at sea, which was recently renamed in his honor.

Stay tuned to the Compass during Veteran’s Day week as we cover events honoring all who have worn the uniform in service of freedom. We’ll also share ways you can convey your thanks to all veterans, or honor those special to you.