Admiral Owen W Siler

 

Admiral Owen W.Siler

Commandant, USCG - 1974 to 1978

Arlington National Cemetary Website

Plank Owner NMLEA

Our Academy’s first Advisory

Board Chairman

 

Admiral Owen W. Siler’s 35-year career in the United States Coast Guard is best characterized by the Coast Guard's rapid growth in responsibilities and the resultant shift in program emphasis. While experiencing only modest growth in personnel, the service, under Admiral Siler's leadership, was successful in meeting its expanding missions by redirecting resources, improving techniques and making maximum use of personnel and equipment.  Overall, the Siler era was represented by change and expansion, of challenge and growth, marked by active accomplishment.  Admiral Owen Wesley Siler left the Coast Guard a legacy of inspired leadership.  Among Admiral Siler’s numerous medals are the coveted Secretary of Transportation’s Award for Outstanding Achievement and the Coast Guard Distinguished Service Medal.

 

THE ACADEMY'S CONCEPTION

 

Special Note

from

Robert M. Wells, NMLEA Founder

 

Admiral Siler and I met in the summer of 1996, at a coffee shop on the waterfront in Savannah Georgia.  I was serving as a lead instructor at the Federal Law Enforcement Training Center (FLETC) in Brunswick at the time.  I was seeking advice on establishing a not for profit organization that would be dedicated to assisting Coast Guard and FLETC in training agents and officers from our 361 ports and multitude of waterways around the country.  At that time the USCG was training less than 100 agents and officers per year at their premier training center in Yorktown Virginia, and the FLETC was training approximately 150 per year.

We enjoyed a lengthy conversation as to the number of agents and officers that could be trained if the training were conducted in their communities using their assets and resources.  The savings to the organizations and people they serve would be substantial.  Before the conversation was through, Admiral Siler suggested he would be most pleased to assist us in getting this idea off the ground and begin to build the organization from the bottom up.

In 2000, our concept was ready to launch.  Admiral Siler took the helm as our Advisory Board Chairman and our first programs were conducted in Savannah Georgia.

In the following years through 2007 we had trained over 4 thousand officers in various aspects of maritime law enforcement operations.  Had it not been for Admiral Siler’s dedication to our organization, I dare say we would not have enjoyed the success we have.  Admiral Siler’s contribution to the Nation did not stop upon his retirement, and after 9/11, he told me he had called the sitting Commandant and asked where he could “sign up”...!  Prior to his passing, he challenged me to “continue our good work”. We have, and to that challenge, will continue to make ourselves available to our brothers and sisters that strive daily to serve and protect our citizens at home and abroad.

In Admiral Siler’s passing, we have lost an amazing advisor, valued colleague, and trusted friend.

Fair Winds and Following Seas, to our friend, our shipmate, and a man who will always be remembered as the corner stone of our Academy.

Robert M. Wells

 

MEMORIAL SERVICES HELD FOR 15th USCG COMMANDANT

SAVANNAH, Ga. - A memorial service was held for the 15th commandant of the Coast Guard today at St. John's Episcopal Church in downtown Savannah.

Adm. Owen W. Siler, 85, commandant of the U.S. Coast Guard from 1974 to 1978, died from heart failure July 17 at St. Joseph's hospital in Atlanta.

A World War II veteran, Siler served in combat duty aboard two ships in the Pacific and participated in the occupation of Northern Honshu, Japan, following Japan's surrender.  His Coast Guard career highlights included serving as a deck officer afloat, as an aviator performing search and rescue patrols, and ashore in the law enforcement, marine safety and environmental protection fields.  Other assignments included chief of the search and rescue branch in Juneau, Alaska, deputy chief of staff in Washington, and commanding officer at Air Station Miami, where the station received a Coast Guard unit commendation for Cuban exodus operations during October and November of 1965.

During Siler's his tenure as commandant he instituted a minority recruiting program and was instrumental in having women admitted to the U.S. Coast Guard Academy, making it the first of the military service academy to do so.  He also oversaw the expansion of the Coast Guard's marine environmental protection program, with the passage of the Fisheries Conservation and Management Act of 1976, to include an increase of the service's jurisdiction along the nation's coastline to more than two million square miles.

Under Siler's leadership the Coast Guard transformed from a humanitarian service to an organization that was recognized as a leader in marine environmental protection, a highly effective law enforcement agency and a conservation-conscious protector of marine resources.

After retiring from the Coast Guard with 35 years of service, Siler moved with his wife to The Landings on Skidaway Island in Savannah, Ga., where he was an active member of St. John's Episcopal Church, the Rotary Club of Savannah South, the Propeller Club, the Navy League and the World Affairs Council.

Born in Seattle, Wash., Siler graduated from Santa Maria High School in 1938 and from the Coast Guard Academy in 1943.  He received a Master of Science degree in International Affairs from George Washington University in 1968. 

Surviving are his wife, Betty W. Siler of Savannah; son Gregory John and his wife Terri Siler of Columbia, Md; daughter Marsha and her husband James V. Antista of Tallahassee, Fla.; grandchildren David Wesley and wife Karen, Wesley Howard and wife Nessie, Christopher Justin Antista and Lauren Elizabeth Antista; and great-grandchildren Alexandria Siler and Nicholas Owen Siler.


SAVANNAH, Ga. - The Coast Guard National Honor Guard members fold the American flag before it's presented to the family of Adm. Owen Siler July 20 during his memorial service at St. John's Episcopal Church in Savannah. Admiral Siler was a former commandant of the Coast Guard. Former commandants, retired admirals and the Vice Adm. Vivien Crea, vice commandant of the Coast guard were in attendance. Coast Guard photo by PA2 Bobby Nash.

SAVANNAH, Ga. - Adm. Owen Siler's remains are brought out of St. John's Episcopal Church following his memorial service Friday morning July 20. Admiral Siler was a former commandant of the Coast Guard. He died of heart failure July 17 at St. Joseph's Hospital in Savannah. Admiral Siler's memorial service was attended by family, friends as well as, Vice Adm. Vivien Crea, vice commandant of the Coast Guard. Coast Guard photo by PA2 Bobby Nash.

SAVANNAH, Ga. - A soldier expresses his condolences to Adm. Owen Siler's widow, Betty Siler, at his memorial service Friday morning July 20. Admiral Siler was a former commandant of the Coast Guard. He died of heart failure July 17 at St. Joseph's Hospital in Savannah. Admiral Siler's memorial service was attended by family, friends as well as, Vice Adm. Vivien Crea, vice commandant of the Coast Guard. Coast Guard photo by PA2 Bobby Nash.