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Coast Guard History

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Claiborne Pell 

A photograph of Captain Claiborne Pell, USCGR

Former Senator Claiborne Pell was born in 1918.  He enlisted in the Coast Guard four months prior to the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor.  He first served as a ship's cook and eventually earned a commission.  During the war, he served on North Atlantic convoy duty and in Sicily and Italy.  He left active duty at the end of the war with the rank of Lieutenant but continued serving in the Coast Guard Reserve.  Upon returning to civilian life Senator Pell worked form many years in foreign affairs.  He was also the Vice President of the International Rescue Committee.  The Knights of Malta decorated him for his refugee work and he received the Knight Crown of Italy for his work on rehabilitating the Sicilian fishing industry.  He also received the French Legion of Honor and was decorated by Portugal as well.

In 1960 he was elected to the U.S. Senate from Rhode Island and he served in the Senate from 1961 until 1997.  During his distinguished career, Senator Pell served as the Chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee.  He also served on the Labor and Public Welfare and Rules and Administration Committees.  He is the author of Megalopolis Unbound and co-author of Challenge of the Seven Seas.

He retired from the Coast Guard Reserve with the rank of Captain.


Last Modified 11/17/2014