Harry G. Hamlet - History of World War I - WW1 - The Great War

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Harry G. Hamlet Information

Harry G. Hamlet

Place of birth: Eastport, Maine
Resting place: Arlington National Cemetery
Allegiance: United States of America
Service/branch: United States Coast Guard
Years of service: 1894-1938
Rank: Vice Admiral
Commands held: Commandant of the Coast Guard
Battles/wars: World War I

Harry Gabriel Hamlet (August 27, 1874 - January 24, 1954) served as the seventh Commandant of the United States Coast Guard, from 1932 to 1936.

Early life and career

Hamlet was born in Eastport, Maine and was the son of Oscar G. Hamlet, a Captain in the United States Revenue Cutter Service. Upon graduation from high school in Dorchester, Massachusetts, he entered the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.

He enlisted in the Revenue Cutter Service in 1894 and upon completion of training in 1896, was assigned to the USRC Bear. Hamlet participated in the Arctic Relief Expedition of 1897-1898, serving under the command of Lieutenant Ellsworth P. Bertholf, who later became the fourth Commandant of the Coast Guard.

In 1900, Hamlet became one of the Revenue Cutter Service officers to attend the Naval War College in Newport, Rhode Island. Upon completion of his studies, he returned to active duty on the USRC Bear, serving on patrol duty in both the Atlantic and Arctic Oceans.

World War I and postwar assignments

During World War I, he was assigned to the Third Naval District at Bensonhurst, New York and later joined U.S. Naval forces at Brest, France, assuming command of the USS Marietta. From 1919 to 1922, he served as the Coast Guard's Chief Personnel Officer. From 1924 to 1928, he served as Superintendent of the Philadelphia Navy Yard. From 1928 until his appointment as Commandant, he served as Superintendent of the United States Coast Guard Academy at New London, Connecticut.

Coast Guard Commandant

Following the death of Frederick C. Billard, he was appointed as Coast Guard Commandant by President Herbert Hoover on June 14, 1932. As Commandant during the Great Depression, he struggled with low budgets and limited appropriations. In response, Hamlet implemented a cost-cutting plan which called for decommissioning of vessels, closing of Coast Guard stations, manpower reductions, and a 25% reduction in expenditures.

Unfortunately, these measures led to calls to merge the Coast Guard with the United States Navy. With the support of Chief of Naval Operations, Admiral William V. Pratt, however, Hamlet succeeded in persuading President Franklin D. Roosevelt and Congress from taking such action.

Later career

Upon completion of his term, he was succeeded as Commandant by Russell R. Waesche, and reverted in rank to Captain on January 1, 1936. He was retained on special duty in the office of Secretary of the Treasury Henry Morgenthau, Jr.. He also served as Chairman of the Personnel Advisory Committee to the U.S. Senate Commerce Committee, which was responsible for studying maritime issues and recommending legislation on improving the United States Merchant Marine.

The Creed of the United States Coast Guardsman

The following creed was authored by Admiral Hamlet in 1938:

I am proud to be a United States Coast Guardsman.

I revere that long line of expert seamen who by their devotion to duty and sacrifice of self have made it possible for me to be a member of a service honored and respected, in peace and war, throughout the world.

I never, by word or deed, will bring reproach upon the fair name of my service, nor permit others to do so unchallenged.

I will cheerfully and willingly obey all lawful orders.

I will always be on time to relieve, and shall endeavor to do more, rather than less, than my share.

I will always be at my station, alert and attending to my duties.

I shall, so far as I am able, bring to my seniors solutions, not problems.

I shall live joyously, but always with due regard for the rights and privileges of others.

I shall endeavor to be a model citizen in the community in which I live.

I shall sell my life dearly to an enemy of my country, but give it freely to rescue those in peril.

With God's help, I shall endeavor to be one of His Noblest Works...



Hamlet retired from the U.S. Coast Guard on September 1, 1938, just after his 64th birthday. By virtue of his service as Commandant, his retired rank would have been Rear Admiral; he was, however, promoted to Vice Admiral in recognition of his four decades of service. Upon his death at the age of 79, he was interred at Arlington National Cemetery.

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Source: WikiPedia

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