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Wall of Gallantry
Each year, a specially appointed Cadet Awards Board selects up to twelve Academy Alumni from a larger group of nominees to be honored for distinguished acts of heroic service. Honorees are recognized in the fall at an induction ceremony held in their honor and then featured on the Wall of Gallantry. This display is part of the Chase Hall “Hall of Heroes” corridor and pays tribute to individuals who’ve earned an outstanding award.

The Wall of Gallantry serves as a regular reminder to cadets and the public of the scope of responsibilities and sacrifice demanded of Coast Guard officers throughout history. Plaques include the individual's photo, a citation with detailed recounting of the circumstances which led to the honor and a map marking the geographic point of the heroic act. Some plaques also include career highlights as a postscript, though it should be noted that plaques of officers who are not yet fully retired may not reflect accomplishments subsequent to their induction ceremonies.


Select the year in the left navigation to learn more about those alumni who have been honored in the past. 


The following 2017 honorees will be inducted on November 9, 2017:


Vice Admiral K. Williams 

Kent Williams
Vice Admiral, U.S. Coast Guard
Class of 1965

Vice Admiral Kent Williams was born in 1943. He served more than ten years on sea duty and earned a permanent Cutterman’s Insignia. He commanded the U.S. Coast Guard Cutter Durable, Cape Kiwanda, and three separate 82-foot patrol boats operating from Da Nang, Republic of Vietnam, as well as Coast Guard Station Cape May, New Jersey. VADM Williams was an Honors graduate from the Coast Guard Academy with a Bachelor of Science in Engineering. He is a Distinguished Graduate from both the U.S. Naval Postgraduate School (MSc in Finance) and the U.S. Naval War College. He also graduated as a Sloan Fellow from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. As a Flag Officer, he commanded the First Coast Guard District in Boston Massachusetts, was Chief of Staff of the Coast Guard, and simultaneously commanded the Fifth Coast Guard District in Portsmouth, Virginia, Maritime Defense Zone Atlantic, and Coast Guard Atlantic Area. He retired in May 1997.

Learn more about Vice Admiral Williams. 

Admiral J. Hayes 


John B. Hayes
Admiral, U.S. Coast Guard
Class of 1946

Admiral John Hayes was born in 1924 and graduated from the Coast Guard Academy in 1946 (Class of 1947). He served in command positions at LORAN station Matsumae, Japan, aboard Coast Guard Cutter Ariadne, Sagebrush, and Vigilant, and at Coast Guard Base Key West. After attending the U.S. Naval War College in 1959, he was stationed at Coast Guard Headquarters. While there, he earned a Master of Arts degree in International Affairs from George Washington University in 1964. In 1966, he became Commander, Naval Task Group 115.4 and Commander, Division 11, Coast Guard Squadron One, Republic of Vietnam. His next tours of duty were at Coast Guard Headquarters and the Coast Guard Academy as Commandant of Cadets. In 1973, he returned to Washington where he was promoted to Rear Admiral and, in 1975, became Commander, 17th Coast Guard District in Juneau, Alaska. On June 1, 1978, he was promoted to the 16th Commandant of the Coast Guard. After retirement, he stayed active in many roles, including consulting on the Exxon Valdez oil spill and serving on the board and as chairman of the board of trustees of Bigelow Laboratory for Ocean Sciences, Maine’s largest oceanographic research institution. Admiral Hayes passed away on January 17, 2001.

Learn more about Admiral Hayes. 

Captain J. Austin 


John M. Austin
Captain, U.S. Coast Guard
Class of 1945

Born in Iowa in 1922, Captain John M. Austin graduated the Coast Guard Academy in 1944 (Class of 1945). He served on the USS Callaway from 1944 until 1946 and he participated in the invasions of Anguar, Leyte, Luzon, and Iwo Jima. Kamikazes attacked his ship en-route to Luzon with the loss of 30 souls. Following World War II, he was the Commanding Officer of LORAN Station, St. Paul Island. He then served on the U.S. Coast Guard Cutter Mackinaw, Woodbine and Winona (Bering Sea Patrol). He also served as the Marine Inspection Officer in Cleveland, Detroit, Seattle and St. Ignace, following which he served on staff of the 3rd Coast Guard District. Following Vietnam, he served as Captain of the Port and Base Commander in Sault Ste. Marie, Michigan and as Deputy Chief of Marine Environment and Systems at Coast Guard Headquarters. Thereafter, he served as Chief Marine Safety Division, 9th Coast Guard District until his retirement in 1974. He was inducted into the Coast Guard Academy Athletic Hall of Fame in 1979. Captain John M. Austin passed away on May 14, 2011.

Learn more about Captain Austin. 

Vice Admiral T. Sargent 


Thomas R. Sargent
Vice Admiral , U.S. Coast Guard
Class of 1938

Vice Admiral Thomas Sargent was born in 1914 and graduated from the Coast Guard Academy in the 1938. He served as the Commanding Officer of the USS Sandusky during the operation against Japanese enemy-held islands in the Southwest Pacific War Area from December 1, 1944 to March 8, 1945. After World War II, he was Executive Officer of the Coast Guard Cutter Bibb in 1950 and the Commanding Officer of the Coast Guard Cutter Winnebago in 1954. VADM Sargent was named Chief of Staff for the Coast Guard in 1968, and was assigned Assistant Commandant of the Coast Guard in 1970. He then retired from this position in 1974, and passed away in May of 2010.

Learn more about Vice Admiral Sargent.