Waesche Hall was named after Admiral Russell R. Waesche (USCGA Class of 1906). Waesche was the Commandant of the Coast Guard during WWII and met with MacArthur in the Philippines, where his personnel instructed the Marines and Navy on landing operations. The Coast Guard became an integral part of the South Pacific struggle, landing thousands of troops upon the shores. Admiral Waesche's leadership was an acknowledged asset and he was asked to be a part of a small committee of military men, which included Eisenhower and MacArthur, dubbed the Defense Council. This committee was charged with re-evaluation of the American military and resulted in the creation of the U.S. Air Force and the current form of presidential cabinet. Admiral Waesche was also a highly decorated veteran who received the Distinguished Service Medal, and a knighthood from the King of England.
Waesche Hall houses the Library, the Admissions Office, and is home to the Coast Guard Museum.
Coast Guard Museum
The Coast Guard Museum depicts the Coast Guard's diverse and proud history, from its roots in the U.S. Revenue Cutter Service, Lifesaving Service and Lighthouse Establishment, to our present-day multi-mission service. The collection includes paintings, medals, ship models and uniforms as well as featured items such as a 10-foot, first order Fresnel lens from the Cape Ann Lighthouse in Massachusetts and the original figurehead from the Barque Eagle.
Tradition of The Chain
As part of the Museum's collection, there are six oversized links of chain, each approximately 45" long located next to the entrance of Waesche Hall. These chain links were donated to the Coast Guard Academy by descendants of Peter Townsend, the man that originally forged them. During the time of the Revolutionary War, the chain was drawn across the Hudson River near West Point to offer protection and prohibit the passage of vessels. General Benedict Arnold had command of the American Fort at West Point, and it was at this time that he plotted to betray the Fort to the British. One of the secrets he shared concerned the existence and location of the chain.
Every year, a challenge is undertaken by the fourth class (swabs) and second class cadets. Over the course of the week preceding the first home football game, the fourth class cadets must hide the chain links somewhere on Academy grounds. The chain has been hidden in places such as the Thames River, the Superintendent's garden, and even under the fifty yard line of the football field. The second class is then challenged to find the chain by halftime of the football game. If they can not, they must reward temporary privileges, such as "carry-on", to the fourth class.