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News // Apr 17, 2020

In Memory of Admiral James S. Gracey, USCG (Ret.)

  • Jennifer Crowley Fyke

Admiral James Gracey, 17th Coast Guard Commandant, passed away on April 5, 2020, in Falls Church, Virginia. We extend our condolences to Mrs. Gracey and the entire Gracey family during this difficult time.

Respected and admired by all, he was a great Coast Guard leader and a wonderful friend of the Coast Guard Foundation. It was Admiral Gracey, who served as Commandant from 1982-1986, who first suggested in the mid-1980s that we expand our mission to support the entire Coast Guard, in addition to the Coast Guard Academy.

06 San Fran Gracey Award
Admiral Gracey presented the 2006 Admiral James S. Gracey Award for Professional Excellence to Petty Officer 1st Class David L. Harris from ISC Seattle.

For many years, an award at the Pacific Area Awards Dinner was presented in his name to an individual Coast Guard member who achieved professional excellence. He often tried to attend the event to present the award in person, but when he could not be there, he always reached out to the awardee and offered his congratulations and appreciation. He was a good friend of Larry Hoch, a key Coast Guard Foundation board member- and current director Laurie Rietsema’s father - and when we dedicated the new Coast Guard Foundation offices in 2005, Admiral Gracey was here to pay tribute to Larry and their many decades of friendship.

Simply put, he was a great American and a wonderful human being.

We've pulled some photos from our archives into this album shared below. Thank you, Admiral Gracey, for your leadership and kindness. Semper Paratus.

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