Former Coast Guard Commandant’s Ashes Transported to Washington,DC

SAVANNAH, Ga. — Admiral Owen W. Siler’s ashes were moved from Savannah to Washington, D.C., Tuesday for an internment service to be held in Arlington Cemetery on Coast Guard Hill.

Siler, a Savannah resident and the commandant of the U.S. Coast Guard from 1974 to 1978, died from heart failure earlier this year here in Georgia. His ashes are being transported by Coast Guard aircraft Challenger, the Coast Guard vice commandant’s aircraft, to Air Station Washington, D.C., for a final ceremony to commemorate his service in the Coast Guard.

During 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 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.

After retiring from the Coast Guard with 35 years of service, Siler moved with his wife to The Landings on Skidaway Island in Savannah, Ga., where he was an active member of St. John’s Episcopal Church, the Rotary Club of Savannah South, the Propeller Club, the Navy League and the World Affairs Council.

Surviving are his wife, Betty W. Siler of Savannah; son Gregory John and his wife Terri Siler of Columbia, Md.; daughter Marsha and her husband James V. Antista of Tallahassee, Fla.; grandchildren David Wesley and wife Karen, Wesley Howard and wife Nessie, Christopher Justin Antista and Lauren Elizabeth Antista; and great-grandchildren Alexandria Siler and Nicholas Owen Siler.

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