Former Coast Guard Commandant to be Buried Friday

WASHINGTON – Adm. Owen W. Siler, who served as commandant of the U.S. Coast Guard from 1974 to 1978, will be buried with full military honors on Friday at Arlington National Cemetery. He died from heart failure on July 17 in Atlanta.

A World War II veteran, Adm. Siler served in combat duty aboard two ships in the Pacific and participated in the occupation of Northern Honshu, Japan, following Japan’s surrender. His Coast Guard career highlights 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 of 1965.

During Adm. 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 academy to do so. He also oversaw the expansion of the 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 nation’s coastline to more than two million square miles.

Under Adm. Siler’s leadership the Coast Guard transformed from a humanitarian service to an organization that was recognized as a leader in marine environmental protection, a highly effective law enforcement agency and a conservation-conscious protector of marine resources.

Born in Seattle, Wash., Adm. Siler graduated from Santa Maria High School in 1938 and from the Coast Guard Academy in 1943. He received a Master of Science degree in International Affairs from George Washington University in 1968.

Adm. Siler is survived by his wife, Betty W. Siler of Savannah; two children, four grandchildren and two great-grandchildren.

A funeral service with full military honors is scheduled for 11 a.m. Friday at Arlington National Cemetery.

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