Admiral Robert Edward Kramek was born on 15 December 1939. After graduating from Bayside High School in New York, he entered the US Coast Guard Academy. Graduating with honors, he received a Bachelor of Science degree in Engineering and was commissioned in 1961. Some of his duty assignments included command of the High-Endurance Cutter Midgett, command of the Coast Guard Base at Governor's Island (NY), command of the 13th and 7th Coast Guard Districts, and Chief of Staff of the US Coast Guard. While 7th District Commander he served concurrently as the Regional Drug Interdiction Coordinator and the head of the Haitian Migration Task Force. Admiral Kramek also attended graduate schools at the University of Michigan, Johns Hopkins University, and the University of Alaska. He has received Masters of Science degrees in Naval Architecture and Marine Engineering,
He attended the US Naval War College in Newport RI and graduated with high distinction. He was selected for flag rank in 1986 and completed the "Capstone" Program at the National Defense University at Fort McNair, Washington, DC. He became the 20th Commandant of the Coast Guard succeeding Admiral J. William Kime on 1 June 1994.
During his tenure the service significantly expanded its global reach and influence. His term, therefore, may be characterized as an "international" effort. Admiral Kramek, for example, directed the service's participation in Operation FRONTIER SHIELD, a combined service/international anti-narcotic smuggling operation. Operation GULF SHIELD was another such effort. He also instituted a mobile training team that assisted other countries in developing their own sea-based law enforcement agencies. The USCG also participated in law enforcement training operations such as Operation TRADEWINDS, assisting our allies throughout the Caribbean in dealing with law enforcement and search and rescue capabilities. The service also assisted and trained with South American navies and coast guards through operations, such as UNITAS, that emphasized the Coast Guard's military readiness.
The USCG participated in Operation BALTOPS in the Baltic Sea each year
the operations took place. The service also assisted a number of the
former Soviet republics, namely Latvia, Estonia, Lithuania, and Ukraine,
in developing their own coast guards. The Coast Guard also worked closely
with the Russian Border Guard (former KGB) in order to institute joint
operations and agreements for organizational cooperation. These emphasized
joint fisheries patrols, environmental responses, and search and rescue
operations. The service also developed international training exercises,
particularly with Canadian agencies, to prepare the USCG and other agencies
to respond to oil spills.