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Thomas McAdams
Born June 14, 1931(1931-06-14) (age 90)
Place of birth Seattle, Washington, U.S.
Allegiance United States of America
Service/branch United States Coast Guard
Years of service 1950–1977
Rank Master Chief Petty Officer of the Coast Guard

Thomas D. McAdams (born June 14, 1931)[1] is a retired US Coast Guard master chief petty officer and former rescue boat commander.[2][3] He is considered the most famous enlisted person to serve in the US Coast Guard in history, saving over one-hundred lives over a 27-year-long career throughout the Pacific Northwest.[4]

After retiring from the Coast Guard in 1977, McAdams became an officer in the volunteer fire department in Newport, Oregon, the same community where he had commanded his motor lifeboats.[4]

Early life[edit | edit source]

McAdams was born in 1931 in Seattle, Washington, and was raised in the Ballard neighborhood.[5] McAdams graduated from Ballard High School in 1950.[5]

Career[edit | edit source]

McAdams entered the US Coast Guard on December 7, 1950 in Seattle, Washington during the Korean War.[4]

McAdams commanded the Coast Guard's 36-foot motor lifeboat, its 44-foot motor lifeboat, and its 52-foot motor lifeboat, and helped design the current 47-foot motor lifeboat.[4] McAdams rounded out his 27-year Coast Guard career by commanding the Coast Guard's Motor Lifeboat School at Cape Disappointment, Ilwaco, Washington, where he wrote its first training manual.[citation needed] In 1957, he was awarded a Gold Lifesaving Medal for a case in 1957 at Yaquina Bay, where he saved four persons in a capsized boat.[4] He retired from the U.S. Coast Guard on July 1, 1977.[4]

In 2008, while reporting on the 100th anniversary celebration of the founding of Canada's Bamfield Station, the Victoria Times Colonist characterized McAdams as a "legendary figure in the U.S. Coast Guard", who "stole the show at the historic symposium with his on-the-job tales."[2] McAdams' life-saving efforts were so dramatic that he appeared as a guest on several television shows, and was profiled in Life and National Geographic.[4]

Accolades[edit | edit source]

References[edit | edit source]

  1. "United States Public Records, 1970-2009," database, FamilySearch (16 May 2014), Thomas D Mc Adams, Residence, Newport, Oregon, United States; a third party aggregator of publicly available information.
  2. 2.0 2.1 "Bamfield marks 100 years of saving lives at sea". Victoria Times Colonist. 2008-06-17. Archived from the original on 2015-07-22. https://web.archive.org/web/20150722180721/http://www.canada.com/victoriatimescolonist/story.html?id=%20f531a3cc-e359-40e2-986a-77fe242c7cb4. "Tom McAdams, who's a legendary figure in the U.S. Coast Guard, stole the show at the historic symposium with his on-the-job tales. McAdams served for 27 years in the Pacific Northwest based out of USCG Station Yaquina Bay in Newport, Oregon. After retirement he joined the Newport Fire Department and gave that organization 30 years of service." 
  3. Young, L.T. Stephanie (July 25, 2012). "The champion lifesaver of the Pacific coast". http://coastguard.dodlive.mil/2012/07/the-champion-lifesaver-of-the-pacific-coast/. Retrieved December 29, 2016. 
  4. 4.0 4.1 4.2 4.3 4.4 4.5 4.6 "BMCM Thomas D. McAdams, USCG (Ret.)". United States Coast Guard. U.S. Department of Homeland Security. https://www.uscg.mil/history/people/McAdamsThomasIndex.asp. Retrieved January 22, 2017. 
  5. 5.0 5.1 "Interviewee: BMCM Tom McAdams, USCG (Ret.)". United States Coast Guard. U.S. Department of Homeland Security. February 13, 2004. https://www.uscg.mil/history/weboralhistory/BMCM_T_McAdams_Oral_History.asp. Retrieved January 22, 2017. 

External links[edit | edit source]

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