Former Commandant Adm. Paul Yost Passes Away

Admiral Paul Alexander Yost, Jr., USCG (retired), 18th Commandant of the Coast Guard

Admiral Paul Alexander Yost, Jr., USCG (retired), 18th Commandant of the Coast Guard

Washington, D.C. – Admiral Paul Alexander Yost, Jr., USCG (retired), 18th Commandant of the Coast Guard, passed away on Wednesday, February 09,  2022, in Provo, Utah, at the age of 93.

A native of St. Petersburg, Florida, Admiral Yost graduated from the United States Coast Guard Academy in 1951. Admiral Yost earned two Masters Degrees; the first in Mechanical Engineering from the University of Connecticut in 1959 and, the second in International Affairs from George Washington University, Washington, DC in 1964. He also graduated from the Naval War College in Newport, RI in 1964.

His career was comprised of diverse tours ashore and afloat, including command of Coast Guard Cutter RESOLUTE in San Francisco, California; combat command of Commander, Task Group 115.3 supporting Operation Market Time during the Vietnam War; Chief, Bridge Branch, Aids to Navigation Division; Special Assistant to the Chief Counsel, Coast Guard Headquarters; Captain of the Port, Seattle; Chief of Staff and Chief of Operations for the Seventeenth Coast Guard District in Alaska; and Special Assistant to the Deputy Secretary of the Department of Transportation, and alternate delegate on the U.S. Law of the Sea Delegation.

Promoted to flag rank in October of 1978, his flag assignments included Commander, Eighth Coast Guard District; Chief of Staff of Coast Guard Headquarters; and Commander, Coast Guard Atlantic Area/Commander Maritime Defense Zone Atlantic.

Admiral Yost served as Commandant from 1986 until his retirement in 1990. During his tenure as Commandant, Admiral Yost emphasized three primary mission areas: maritime law enforcement, marine safety, and defense readiness. During this period there was an increased emphasis on the military and naval capabilities of the Service – an example of this was the addition of combat weapons and sensors to High Endurance Cutters, such as the Close-In Weapons System (CIWS), which paved the way for them to sail and train with joint forces throughout the world. The Coast Guard also initiated a “zero tolerance” policy in 1988, carrying out presidential direction for the war on drug smuggling. The Service supported the standup of Operation Bahamas Turks and Caicos (OPBAT) and increased its counter-narcotics cooperation with Customs, DoD, DEA, international law enforcement agencies and foreign military forces. Admiral Yost oversaw the stand-up of Command, Control, Communications and Intelligence Centers that enabled closer interagency cooperation in the interdiction of drug smuggling operations. At the same time, the Service assumed a greater role internationally. For example, the Coast Guard established a presence in the Persian Gulf assisting in the re-flagging of Kuwaiti tankers during the Iran-Iraq War. There was also increased cooperation with the Soviet Union regarding pollution response as well as search and rescue, and the US and USSR signed a joint SAR agreement, ensuring closer working ties between the Coast Guard and the Soviet Border Guard. Admiral Yost also oversaw the Coast Guard’s response to several major disasters, including Hurricanes Gilbert and Hugo, the latter being one of the most devastating hurricanes to hit the US. Further, the Coast Guard responded to the 1989 Loma Prieta Earthquake in Northern California. In addition to natural disasters, the Service responded to significant pollution incidents including the AMERICAN TRADER oil spill off Southern California and the EXXON VALDEZ spill in Prince William Sound, Alaska. Notably, these events directly resulted in increased Coast Guard responsibilities for tank vessel regulation and environmental protection, leading to enactment of the Oil Pollution Act of 1990.

Following his retirement from the Coast Guard in 1990, Admiral Yost served as President of the Alexandria, Virginia based James Madison Memorial Fellowship Foundation until 2010. He was a member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints and has served on the church’s Military Relations Committee. In 1992, he received the Naval Order of the United States’ Distinguished Sea Service Award.

Admiral Yost was preceded in death by his wife of 70 years, Janice Kay Worth Yost. He is survived by his five children: Linda (Mark) Barrand, Chip (Mary Ann), David, Lisa (Peter) Galvin, and Christopher (Michelle), eleven grandchildren, and nineteen great-grandchildren.

Details regarding services will be announced.

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