Coast Guard Heroes: Robert G. Ward

The Coast Guard Compass was proud to unveil the first 25 heroes the service’s new fast response cutters would be named for and we are even prouder to share the next 10 names with you in a continuation of our Coast Guard Heroes series. Over the next two weeks we’ll be sharing profiles of the namesakes of the Coast Guard’s fast response cutters, from legends of the U.S. Life Saving Service to courageous men who served during the Vietnam War. Today, we share with you the story of Robert G. Ward.

Written by Christopher Havern

A landing craft from USS Joseph T. Dickman loads equipment for landing on Utah Beach at Normandy on June 6, 1944. U.S. Coast Guard photo.

A landing craft from USS Joseph T. Dickman loads equipment for landing on Utah Beach at Normandy on June 6, 1944. U.S. Coast Guard photo.

Robert Grattan Ward was born in Bridgeport, Connecticut, on Sept. 24, 1916. Prior to enlisting in the U.S. Coast Guard, he served in the Connecticut National Guard for three years.

Upon his enlistment, he completed basic training at the Manhattan Beach Training Station and was subsequently assigned to duty with the Captain of the Port, Baltimore. While in Baltimore, he served as a crewman on CGC-913-F.

On March 13, 1943, he was assigned to the transport USS Joseph T. Dickman. While a crewman on Dickman, Ward was promoted to Seaman 1st Class effective July 27, 1943. Just under a year later, on June 6, 1944, USS Joseph T. Dickman was one of the transports involved in Operation Neptune, the amphibious component of Operation Overlord, the invasion of Normandy.

The service record photo of Robert Grattan Ward. U.S. Coast Guard photo.

The service record photo of Robert Grattan Ward. U.S. Coast Guard photo.

Ward served as coxswain of a landing craft in the first wave, in the landing operations against the enemy on Cotentin Peninsula. Ward successfully landed his troop personnel despite heavy enemy opposition. Upon retracting from the beach, he observed the stranded crews from two other landing craft whose boats had been destroyed by enemy mortar fire. Ward returned to the beach, took off both crews despite continued shelling, and returned safely with them to his ship.

For his conspicuous gallantry in action against the enemy, Ward was awarded the Silver Star.

Subsequent to the landing operations in Normandy, Ward was rated a Coxswain on July 11, 1944, and was later selected for the Officer Training School located at the U.S. Coast Guard Academy in New London, Connecticut.

He received his commission on June 13, 1945, and was later assigned to LV-113 Swiftsure where he served as a deck and communications officer. After his time on the lightship he served consecutively on USS Cavalier and USS Kanawha before he was assigned to the Alameda Training Station where he awaited his discharge from the Coast Guard.

Ward was honorably discharged on May 5, 1946. In addition to his Silver Star, Ward received the Good Conduct Medal and was entitled to the American Area Medal and European Area Medal.

Robert Grattan Ward passed away in Florida on Nov. 4, 1987.

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