Captain David Sinclair's Memoirs' Index
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U.S. Coast Guard Oral History Program


The Personal Memoir 
Captain David W. Sinclair,
U.S. Coast Guard (Ret.)

A photo of Captain David Sinclair, USCG (Ret.)


Captain David W. Sinclair provided the Historian's Office with a copy of his memoirs that he had written for his "classmates, shipmates and friends and especially for family descendents."  He divided his life into a number of chapters, which he entitled "Scenes," and graciously provided our office with those that covered his Coast Guard career, beginning when he entered the Coast Guard Academy as a cadet in the Class of 1939.  Each successive chapter, or "Scene," covered a further period of his life in the Coast Guard, including service during World War II, flight school, duty in the air and on the sea, continuing through his retirement from the Coast Guard in 1969.  These are the experiences of a dedicated veteran in his own words.  

The Historian's Office would like to thank Captain Sinclair for taking the time share his story with us, thereby giving future generations a look into what life was like in the Coast Guard during this period.  His contribution to our understanding of the Coast Guard and its history is immeasurable.  It is only through efforts such as his that our history is preserved for future generations.  Thank you, Captain!

Biography of Captain David W. Sinclair, USCG (Ret.)

Captain Sinclair graduated from the Coast Guard Academy with the Class of 1939. He served on the Coast Guard Cutters DUANE (Neutrality Patrol & Weather Patrol, 1939-1940), NORTH STAR (Greenland Patrol, 1941-1942), MOHAWK (Greenland Patrol, Convoy Duty, 1942-1943). During those war years he was advanced in rank from Ensign to full Lieutenant.

With that rank he entered flight training and earned his “wings” as CG Aviator #179. With the seniority of Lt. Commander, he was assigned as Executive Officer at these Coast Guard Air Stations:

St. Petersburg 1944-1945
Port Angeles 1945-1948
Elizabeth City 1948-1953
San Diego 1953-1956
CO International Ice Patrol Aircraft 1958-59
CO Puerto Rico

With the aviators’ ranks becoming top heavy, a rotation program back-to-sea was started. CDR Sinclair was assigned as Operations Officer of the 11th CG District. He was, however, permitted to attend a Navy Transitional Flight Course to further acquaint senior officers with the operation of jet aircraft. One flight as part of this training “broke the sound barrier.”

CDR Sinclair’s rotation back-to-sea placed him as Executive Officer of the icebreaker NORTHWIND (1959-1960) on the Bering Sea Patrol followed by command of the CG Cutter WACHUSETT on Pacific Weather Patrol.

Those last operational assignments were followed by shore duty. He was, with the rank of Captain, next designated Commander, Far East Section, U.S. Coast Guard. His Headquarters were in Tokyo, Japan. This was a three year assignment with interesting collateral duties brought about by the fact he was the ranking Coast Guard officer in Japan and the surrounding area.

At the end of that tour of duty, Captain Sinclair was (at last) ordered to Coast Guard Headquarters and made Chief of the Recreational Boating Division. His final assignment was Chief-of-Staff, 12th Coast Guard District, San Francisco. From there he retired on June 30, 1969, and has made San Diego his retirement home.

Table of Contents
(Click on the chapter title to access desired "Scene"; all are pdf files)

Scene 10: Coast Guard Academy (Swab Summer), 1935

Scene 11: Coast Guard Academy (Fourth Class Year), 1935-36

Scene 12: Coast Guard Academy (Third Class Year/Foreign Cruise), 1936-37

Scene 13: Coast Guard Academy (Second Class Year/Academics), 1937-38

Scene 14: Coast Guard Academy (First Class Year), 1938-39

Scene 15: Coast Guard Academy (Graduation; Drive Home for Leave and on to First Duty Station), 1939

Scene 16: CG Cutter DUANE (Neutrality Patrol / Weather Patrol / Greenland Visitation), 1939-40

Scene 17: CG Cutter NORTH STAR (Greenland Patrol / Sled Patrol), 1941-42

Scene 18: CG Cutter MOHAWK (Greenland Patrol / Convoy Duty), 1941-43

Scene 19: Primary Flight Training (NAAS Memphis, Tennessee), 1943

Scene 20: Advanced Flight Training (NAS Pensacola, Florida), 1943-44

Scene 21: CGAS St. Petersburg, Florida (Patrols / Marriage), 1944

Scene 22: CGAS Port Angeles (Search and Rescue), 1945-46

Scene 23: CGAS Elizabeth City (International Ice Patrol), 1949-1953

Scene 24: CGAS San Diego (Search and Rescue), 1953-1956

Scene 25: CGAS Puerto Rico (Search and Rescue), 1956-1958

Scene 26: 11th Coast Guard District HQ, Long Beach, 1958-1959

Scene 27: Coast Guard Icebreaker NORTHWIND (Bering Sea Patrol), 1959-1960

Scene 28: Coast Guard Cutter WACHUSETT (Weather Patrol), 1960-1961

Scene 29: Commander, Far East Section, USCG, (Chain of LORAN Stations), Tokyo, Japan, 1961-1964

Scene 30: Coast Guard Headquarters (Chief, Recreational Boating Safety Office), 1964-1967

Scene 31: 12th Coast Guard District HQ, San Francisco (Chief-of-Staff / Retirement), 1968-1969 


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Last Modified 1/12/2016