1. Information
  2. The Academy

The Academy

Last Updated :

Coast Guard Academy The Academy



Waesche Hall was named after Adm. Russell R. Waesche (Class of 1906), commandant of the Coast Guard during World War II. The Coast Guard became an integral part of the South Pacific struggle, landing thousands of troops upon Pacific shores. Waesche’s leadership was an acknowledged national asset. He was asked to be part of a small committee of military men, which included Eisenhower and MacArthur, known as the Defense Council. Their work helped determine the postwar formation of the U.S. Air Force and the presidential Cabinet. Waesche received the Distinguished Service Medal and an Order of the British Empire from the king of England.

Waesche Hall is the home of the Coast Guard Museum, which depicts our service’s diverse and proud history, from our roots in the U.S. Revenue Cutter Service, U.S. Life-Saving Service and U.S. Lighthouse Establishment, to our present-day multimission service. The centerpiece of the collection is the 10-foot, first-order Fresnel lens from the Cape Ann Lighthouse in Massachusetts. The museum also houses the original figurehead from the Cutter Eagle and various lifesaving artifacts and ship models. Waesche Hall also houses the Academy library and the admissions office.


The links of chain located next to the entrance of Waesche Hall were donated by the descendants of the family that originally forged them. During the time of the Revolutionary War, these links were part of a chain used as a protective device against ships moving up the Hudson River to attack West Point. The chain was drawn across the river so that vessels could not pass. Gen. Benedict Arnold, then commanding the American fort at West Point, plotted to betray the fort to the British. One of the secrets he shared concerned the existence and location of the chain.

An Academy tradition revolves around the chain. Every year, a challenge is issued between the fourth class and second class cadets. Over the course of the week preceding the homecoming game, the fourth class cadets are challenged to hide the chain somewhere on the Academy grounds. Hiding places have included the Thames River, the superintendent’s garden and under the 50-yard line of the football field. The second class cadets are then challenged to find the chain by halftime of the football game. If they cannot find it, they grant special privileges to fourth class cadets.


Completed in 1992, the plaza is named after Ellsworth P. Bertholf, the first commandant of the modern-day Coast Guard. He was awarded a Gold Medal of Honor for his participation in the Point Barrow Overland Relief Expedition of 1897-1898. In 1915, Bertholf was instrumental in implementing the merger of the U.S. Life-Saving Service with the U.S. Revenue Cutter Service to create the U.S. Coast Guard. The plaza is the site of several plaques commemorating Coast Guard personnel who served in World War II. DIMICK HALL

Named after professor Chester E. Dimick, affectionately known as “The Dean,” who headed the mathematics department from 1906 to 1945 and contributed greatly to the development of the Academy’s core curriculum. Dimick Hall houses an auditorium where guest lecturers including Alex Haley, Leon Uris and Sebastian Junger have spoken to cadets and the public.


The hall is named after Rear Adm. Edward H. “Iceberg” Smith. This facility was built for the study of physical and ocean sciences. Smith, a descendant of Martha’s Vineyard whalers, was respected for his knowledge of oceanography and the Arctic. It was said that his quest for knowledge of ice behavior was unending and his career reflected that passion.

After graduating from the Academy, Smith worked with professor Henry Bigelow at Harvard University analyzing ice patrol data and running experiments on ice he had collected during his Arctic expeditions. He commanded the Marion and the Gen. Greene expeditions in 1928, which first surveyed iceberg-producing glaciers of West Greenland. In 1931, he served as the navigator on the transpolar flight of the Graf Zeppelin. His leadership during World War II earned him the Distinguished Service Medal.

The Coast Guard later sent Smith to the Institute of Geophysics at Bergen, Norway. Through his studies and publications, he was later awarded a doctorate in physical oceanography by Harvard University. After he retired in 1950, he became the director of Woods Hole Oceanographic Institute. Smith Hall has expanded over the years and now contains chemistry and physics laboratories and classrooms. This building is restricted to authorized personnel only.


Munro Hall is named after Signalman 1st Class Douglas Munro, the only Coast Guardsman awarded the Medal of Honor. Munro received the nation’s highest medal for his role in rescuing 500 Marines in the 1st Battalion, 7th Marine Division during World War II. The Japanese were constructing an airfield on Guadalcanal, which would give them a strategic position that would interfere with the Allies’ campaign in the South Pacific. The Coast Guard manned about five dozen large transports and served in many others.

Munro was a member of the Coast Guard staff transferred to the USS McCawley, a troop transport. Coast Guardsmen were the most seasoned small-boat handlers in the government’s service and their experience enabled the Coast Guard to fulfill one of its most important and least glamorous roles: landing men on the beaches.

The initial landings were made on Guadalcanal in August 1942 and this hard-fought campaign lasted for nearly six months. Seven weeks after the initial landings, during an engagement with Japanese forces near the Matanikau River, Munro maneuvered his boat between the enemy and withdrawing Marines to protect the remnants of the battalion. The cover he provided enabled hundreds of Marines, including 25 wounded, to escape. While providing cover for the evacuating Marines, Munro was wounded. He died before reaching the operating base. Due to his extraordinary heroism, outstanding leadership and gallantry, Munro posthumously received the Medal of Honor. Munro epitomized the Coast Guard motto Semper Paratus — “Always Ready.”

Munro Hall was originally built in the late 1960s as the enlisted barracks. Today, it houses the chief of personnel, the services division and the Academy police department. This building is restricted to authorized personnel only.


Named after Rear Adm. Harvey F. Johnson (Class of 1908), who was the engineer in chief of the Coast Guard from 1935 to 1940, Johnson Hall was completed in 1962 and designed as the maintenance building. It now houses the Exchange (which includes the Academy Gift Shop), Navy Federal Credit Union and a 24-hour ATM. A map of the Academy can be found in the foyer.


Coast Guard Academy The Academy Bear Plaza


The plaza houses the “Honor Wall” with the motto “Who lives here reveres honor, honors duty” and multiple plaques designed to mirror and capture the pride the Coast Guard has for its Academy and heritage. Bear Plaza was named after the CGC Bear in honor of its 44 years of service. The life-size statue of Objee the bear, the Academy’s mascot, was dedicated in 1997.


Leamy Hall is called after Rear Adm. Frank Leamy (Class of 1925), superintendent of the Academy from 1957 to 1961, who earned the Distinguished Flying Cross for a daring rescue of a critically injured man from a fishing trawler.

Leamy Hall houses the 45-member Coast Guard Band. The band uses its music and nationwide public appearances to entertain and to heighten the awareness of local, national and international audiences about the Coast Guard’s many missions. The building includes a 1,500-seat auditorium where the band performs seasonal concerts, where guest lecturers address the Corps of Cadets and the LDC students, and where cadets and Academy staff perform the annual cadet musical. There is also a bowling alley, student union area, the Dry Dock snack bar (open to the public), Morale, Welfare and Recreation office, the chaplain’s office, the Cadet Music Center and a large ballroom where cadet formals are held. The ballroom offers a spectacular view of the lower fields and the Thames River.


Coast Guard Academy The Academy Alumni Center


The largest project in Alumni Association history, the Alumni Center was completed in 2005. The building’s exterior was designed to complement the historic architecture of the Academy. The adjacent outdoor plaza includes more than 1,000 engraved bricks provided through donations of alumni to leave a legacy here at the Academy. The first-floor meeting room is used for alumni and cadet events and can be rented by the general public for weddings, parties and special events. The second floor includes Alumni Association offices.

The Academy Alumni Association is made up of individuals who have attended the Academy, as well as Officer Candidate School (OCS) graduates, parents of cadets and friends of the Coast Guard. The association keeps alumni throughout the world informed and engaged in Academy activities and events, and also raises additional funds not provided by the federal government to ensure the most complete and enriching experience for the future leaders of the Coast Guard.


Named after Rear Adm. Carl Michel (pronounced mi-shell), chief medical officer of the Academy, chief medical officer of the Coast Guard and assistant surgeon general of the U.S. Public Health Service from 1943 to 1946, Michel Hall contains the medical clinic, dental, optometry and pharmacy facilities. Visitors during the spring and summer months should check the west side of the building where roses of every shape and color bloom.


This street was named for the CGC Campbell, which gained much acclaim for its unorthodox battle techniques. When one of its Atlantic convoys was attacked by a German U-boat during World War II, the Campbell forced the U-boat to surface with depth charges and a fierce battle ensued in which the Campbell rammed and sank the U-boat. The performance earned the commanding officer, Capt. James Hirshfield, the Navy Cross, one of only six such awards given to Coast Guardsmen during World War II.


McAllister Hall was named for Capt. Charles A. McAllister, engineer in chief for the Coast Guard from 1905 to 1919. This building includes classrooms and laboratories for civil engineering, naval architecture and marine engineering, electrical engineering and mechanical engineering. It contains labs for environmental engineering and soils, and the 100-foot Tow Tank/Hydrodynamics Lab. On display in the foyer is a stunning second-order Fresnel lens and senior engineering projects, which vary from digital GPS studies and underwater vehicles to Rail-to-Trails projects. Photographs and display cases throughout the building highlight projects such as loran stations, cutter and aircraft studies, and many vessel replicas.


Hopely Yeaton was one of the first 10 officers commissioned on the same day under the Constitution by President George Washington into the Revenue Cutter Service, the forerunner of today’s Coast Guard. Yeaton Hall honors his name. This former enlisted barracks now houses the Leadership Development Center (LDC). Established in 1998, the LDC is the educational center of excellence for the entire Coast Guard — military and civilian, officer and enlisted. The LDC includes the Commanding Officers (CO), Executive Officers (XO) and Operation Officers (OPS) schools; the Chief Warrant Officers Professional Development (CWOPD); and the Officer Candidate School (OCS) classrooms. Yeaton Hall also houses the Professional Development Department of the commandant of cadets, nautical science classes and a bridge simulator called SCANTS (Ship Control and Navigation Training System).


The guns come from the Boston Lighthouse, the oldest lighthouse site still in commission. Before the advent of modern aids to navigation, lighthouses would fire cannons such as these in foggy water to warn ships away from rocks and shallow waters. The cannons are now used to render honors during regimental reviews, Academy graduations, OCS graduations and other ceremonies.


Billard Hall is named after Rear Adm. Frederick C. Billard, superintendent of the Cutter School of Instruction from 1914 to 1918 and commandant from 1941 to 1948. Credited as the founder of the modern Coast Guard Academy, Billard moved the Academy from Fort Trumbull to its current location in 1932 and expanded the curriculum from two years to four years. It was actually through the determination of his wife Clara, a former New London resident, that the Coast Guard was able to purchase the original 40 acres of the current Academy grounds for $100,000. Ground was broken in January 1931 and construction began immediately with the building of Hamilton and Chase halls. Classes began in September 1932. Billard, who established the school’s motto “Scientiae Cedit Mare” (The Sea Yields Knowledge) in 1920, was an outstanding proponent of competitive sports, and was responsible for instructing cadets on how to enforce prohibition laws during the 1920s.


Coast Guard Academy The Academy Cadet Memorial Field



The Academy’s football field and stadium complex was originally named Jones Field in memory of Cadet Henry L. Jones, the first cadet to die while on duty when he washed overboard while on a training mission. Now, Cadet Memorial Field honors all cadets who have died at sea or on duty. A memorial inscribed “To God I resign my spirit, my life to my country” can be found across from Billard Hall on the right side of the field’s entrance. The field’s superior turf system was installed in 2004.


This building was constructed during the 1930s and is used for storage and repair of the sails and rigging for the Eagle.


The Academy’s original observatory was housed here. With the expansion of New London and Groton, city lights created a glow that rendered the telescope useless. In 2001 a new observatory was built in Stonington, Connecticut.

The observatory once housed Cadet Objee, the Academy’s live bear mascot. Cadet Objee, so named because of his objectionable presence, became a member of the Corps of Cadets in 1926 and his successors were a part of the corps for more than 50 years. He was often brought into the cadet barracks where he was free to roam about. He was washed in the cadet showers and even ate in the Cadet Wardroom. The first custodian of Objee was Cadet Stephen H. Evans, who later became superintendent of the Academy. By 1984, new animal quarantine laws and complaints from the surrounding communities made it impossible for the corps to keep a bear and the tradition of a living “objectionable presence” ended. Objee remains the mascot of the Academy.


Known as America’s Tall Ship, the Eagle is the only tall ship in America’s active-duty forces. The 295-foot, barque-rigged sailing vessel is the seagoing classroom for future leaders of the Coast Guard. Eagle came to the Academy as a reparation prize from Germany after World War II. The ship, built in 1936, was one of four training vessels operated by the German navy during World War II. It was sailed back to New London by a Coast Guard and German naval crew.

Arguably the finest training ship afloat for young sailors, Eagle helps future officers experience the challenges and rewards of life at sea. The unforgettable experience develops teamwork, leadership and a liking of the sea and its lore.


The field is named for Nelson W. Nitchman, a coach of the Academy’s football and basketball teams. The southern half has softball and baseball fields. The northern half includes the outdoor track, varsity soccer field and the Crew Boathouse.


Named after Vice Adm. James Pine (Class of 1908), who served as superintendent of the Academy from 1940 to 1947, the Pine Boathouse was built in 1975 to replace the one that burned down in 1974. It is the center for all waterfront maintenance and serves as a storage facility for the Academy sailing squadron and the sailing team.


The Waterfront is home to the Boat Club (est. 1938) and the sailing team. The sailing team operates from Seamanship Center on Jacob’s Rock, one of the nation’s finest sailing centers, which was completed in 1984 and is used for teaching sailing and seamanship skills. The Crew Boathouse, built in 1982 and located at the north end of the lower fields, is where the rowing crew trains year-round.


The hall is named after Adm. E.J. Roland (Class of 1929), who served as commandant of the Coast Guard from 1962 to 1966. Roland was the captain of the Coast Guard football squad that won the President’s Cup in 1928 in a competition with the Army, Navy and Marines. First lady, Mrs. Lou Henry Hoover, presented the trophy.

Completed in 1967, Roland Hall is a five-level structure nested into the hillside next to the Thames River. The fifth deck (top floor) houses the indoor track and tennis courts. The Athletic Hall of Fame, at the entrance to the fifth deck, is dedicated to Academy athletes who have upheld the Coast Guard’s core values of honor, respect and devotion to duty.


This park was donated through the Academy Foundation in 1972 by the family of Capt. Robert Crown, national president of the Navy League, who earned two Navy Distinguished Public Service awards for his humanitarian efforts. (Please note: The park is accessible by the steep stairs and by the handicapped ramp on the right side of the chapel.)


Here lies one of the first officers commissioned under the Constitution by President George Washington in the Revenue Cutter Service, forerunner of today’s Coast Guard. He was originally buried in Lubec, Maine, but in 1975 his burial site was threatened by development. The Corps of Cadets sailed the Eagle to Lubec, where his remains were exhumed, returned aboard the Eagle and laid to rest here.


Coast Guard Academy The Academy Coast Guard Memorial Chapel



Built in 1952 with funds donated from across the country, the chapel stands on the highest point of the Academy grounds. Its rich symbolism offers reminders of sacrifices that Coast Guard members have made for their country. The lighthouse beacon installed in the chapel’s spire continues to serve as a guide to refuge in a safe harbor. Beneath the lantern is the fencing reminiscent of the widow’s walk where, many years ago, the wives of seafaring men paced while anxiously looking seaward.

Inscriptions on the marble inside the entrance hall detail the chapel’s history. A landing below with solid Vermont marble bollards (to which ships tie) signifies the return port. The bronze lamps hung from the ceiling are in the shape of old whale oil lamps. The flags hung high in the chapel’s vaulted ceiling represent various qualities of humanity. The engraved windows, representing various religious motifs, were given as memorials from the other military branches and private organizations.

The lectern is dedicated to the memory of the crew of the CGC Escanaba. On June 10, 1943, the Escanaba was assisting a convoy across the Atlantic when it received a distress call from the USS Dorchester, which had been struck by a torpedo from a German submarine. The Dorchester carried 800 lives, among which were four chaplains. As the Dorchester was sinking, these chaplains gave up their life jackets and stayed on deck to comfort the crew. The Escanaba responded and miraculously saved more than 150 lives. The deaths of the chaplains and crew of the Dorchester shocked the American public and strengthened their resolve to unite against Germany. Three months later, a German submarine sank the Escanaba. One hundred and one members of the crew of 103 lost their lives. Just as the four Navy chaplains courageously gave up their lives, the crew of the Escanaba displayed a selfless service to America.


When the current Academy site was built in 1932, cadets referred to this section of the reservation as “Officers’ Row.” Staff members such as the superintendent (identified by his personal flag), the assistant superintendent, the dean of academics, the commandant of cadets (identified by the Corps of Cadets flag and the only officer in the Coast Guard authorized to fly this flag), the director of admissions and others have lived in these quarters in the past.


The road is named after the Revenue Cutter Bear, which became famous for a heroic rescue mission over the Alaska tundra. Nearly 300 Alaskan whalers had been stranded in icy waters off Point Barrow, Alaska. Officers David Jarvis and Ellsworth Bertholf (both graduates of the Academy) and a civilian physician named Samuel Call from the Bear’s crew drove a herd of reindeer more than 1,500 miles to the stranded sailors. The supplies they carried sustained the stranded crew until conditions allowed the Bear to steam through the ice to complete the rescue mission. President McKinley had special gold medals struck to honor the heroism and leadership of Jarvis, Bertholf and the physician Call. The highest peacetime civilian award in the Coast Guard was created in honor of the three rescuers. Bertholf went on to become Coast Guard commandant.


Named after George Washington, this field is used for cadet regimental and officer candidate reviews. There are four large gun mounts between Chase and Hamilton hall and between Satterlee and Hamilton hall. Commodore George Dewey gave these guns to the Revenue Cutter Service after the invasion of Manila Bay during the Spanish-American War in honor of the CGC McCulloch’s support in the war effort. These guns were taken from the Spanish flagship Reina Christina.


This hall is named after Capt. Charles Satterlee (Class of 1898), commanding officer of the CGC Tampa during World War I. The Tampa was one of many Coast Guard cutters that helped lead convoys. The Tampa held the record for the greatest number of successful missions when a German U-boat sank it off the coast of Great Britain. All hands were lost. Satterlee houses the Academy’s humanities, mathematics and management departments.


The flagpole in front of Hamilton Hall is a replica of the mast from the Academy training ship Alexander Hamilton. This area is supposed to resemble a quarterdeck, the most highly honored place aboard a ship. The Revenue Cutters first displayed the services ensign in the 1790s to identify them as federal law enforcement vessels. The superintendent’s flag is flown here when he or she is “aboard” the Academy.


Hamilton Hall dons Alexander Hamilton’s legacy, one of America’s founding fathers, the first U.S. secretary of the treasury and the father of the Coast Guard. Needing to generate funds to support the young nation, stop smuggling and collect import duties, Hamilton proposed the establishment of a Revenue Cutter Service in April 1790. On Aug. 4, 1790, Congress passed Hamilton’s Revenue Cutter Bill, which called for the construction of 10 boats. This Revenue Cutter Service grew and acquired a multimission role in our nation’s military until merging with the U.S. Life-Saving Service in 1915 to form the U.S. Coast Guard.

Hamilton Hall, built in 1932, houses the offices of the superintendent, dean of academics, director of diversity, public affairs and other administrative offices. Through the front entrance, the corridor leading to the Henriques Room (pronounced Hen-ricks), the Hall of Graduates displays the names of every Academy graduate.

The Henriques Room was named after Capt. John A. Henriques, the first superintendent of the Academy. Henriques joined the Merchant Marine in 1841 and enlisted in the Revenue Marine in 1854. Henriques was selected to run the first cadet training ships, the Dobbin and the Chase. He also served as superintendent of the Revenue Cutter School of Instruction, the forerunner of today’s Academy, until 1883. During the Spanish-America War of 1898, he served on the Woodbury. Henriques died in 1906 and is buried in New London in Cedar Grove Cemetery.

Designed originally as the Academy’s library, the Henriques Room is now used for special gatherings and award ceremonies. Aldis Brown, graduate of Yale School of Fine Arts, working for the U.S. Treasury Art Relief Program during the Great Depression, painted the murals representing Coast Guard history. The case displays Academy artifacts.


The hall boasts Salmon P. Chase’s name, appointed as secretary of the treasury by President Abraham Lincoln during the Civil War. Emblazoned on its foyer decks are the words of Rear Adm. Stephen H. Evans, superintendent of the Academy from 1960 to 1962: “Who lives here, reveres honor, honors duty.” He implemented what is today known as the “honor concept.” Cadets are of honor; they do not lie, cheat, deceive or steal.

Chase Hall is the largest building at the Academy and serves as the barracks for more than 1,000 cadets and officer candidates. The cadet regiment is made up as follows: one regiment, four battalions and eight companies of three departments, with varying numbers of divisions in those departments.

The building also contains the office of the commandant of cadets, the cadet watch office, the rifle and pistol range, a tailor shop, the Academy bookstore, dry cleaners, uniform center, the cadet and officer candidate wardroom (dining facility), and a dining facility for Coast Guard personnel. This building is restricted to authorized personnel only.


Fourth class cadets were once trained here, standing guard duty with an M1 rifle and bayonet in hand. When a first class cadet would approach, the fourth class would acknowledge the upperclassman’s arrival by performing “present arms.” The North Gate is no longer accessible.



© 2020 - MARCOA Media