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John William Kime (15 July 1934 – 14 September 2006) was a United States Coast Guard admiral who served as the 19th Commandant of the Coast Guard from 31 May 1990 to 1 June 1994.

John William Kime
J William Kime.jpg
Born(1934-07-15)15 July 1934
Greensboro, North Carolina, U.S.
Died14 September 2006(2006-09-14) (aged 72)
Towson, Maryland, U.S.
Allegiance United States
Service/branch United States Coast Guard
Years of service1953–1994
RankUSCG O-10 shoulderboard.svg Admiral
Commands heldCommandant of the Coast Guard
USCGC Midgett (WHEC-726)
Battles/warsGulf War
AwardsTransportation Distinguished Service Medal
Coast Guard Distinguished Service Medal
Defense Superior Service Medal
Legion of Merit
Joint Service Commendation Medal
Coast Guard Commendation Medal


Early life and careerEdit

Kime was born in Greensboro, North Carolina. At the age of 10, he moved with his family to Baltimore, Maryland. In 1951, he graduated from Baltimore City College, and was accepted into the School of Pharmacy at the University of Maryland, but declined the admission offer for financial reasons.

Soon thereafter, he accepted a job at the local General Motors plant, installing glove boxes in Chevrolets. The following year, he saw a television advertisement on Coast Guard careers, which inspired him to enroll at the United States Coast Guard Academy in New London, Connecticut.

In 1957, Kime graduated second in his academy class. Upon graduation, he served aboard USCGC Casco before assuming command of LORAN Station Wake Island in 1960. Continuing his education, he graduated from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology with a master's degree in naval architecture and marine engineering and the professional degree of naval engineer in 1964. He also was in charge of the structural design of the Polar-class icebreakers and was the first engineer officer on USCGC Boutwell, home ported in Boston, Massachusetts. In 1977, he became a distinguished graduate of the Industrial College of the Armed Forces and was assigned to headquarters as assistant chief of the Merchant Marine Technical Division. His other assignments included command of Marine Safety Office Baltimore in 1978-81, deputy chief of the Office of Marine Environment and Systems, 1981–82; chief of the Seventh Coast Guard District Operations Division, 1982–84; chief of Headquarters Office of Marine Safety, Security, and Environmental Protection, 1986-1988.

Prior to becoming Coast Guard commandant, he served as commander of the Long Beach, California-based 11th Coast Guard District and Pacific Regional Coordinator for the Office of National Drug Control Policy. It is noteworthy that Kime was promoted from rear admiral (a two-star rank) to admiral (a four-star rank), never having held the three-star rank of vice admiral.[1]


As commandant, he was passionate about maritime safety and environmental protection issues, and oversaw implementation of the landmark Oil Pollution Act of 1990, and established the position of Drug Interdiction Coordinator. In the wake of the Exxon Valdez oil spill, he pioneered how the Coast Guard prevents and responds to oil and hazardous chemical spills, significantly minimizing environmental damage. The groundwork he laid can also be seen in how the Coast Guard responds to a broad range of threats and hazards to maritime, homeland, and national security interests. His vision set the stage for the Coast Guard’s transition to focused organizational competencies in prevention and response. He led the service during the end of the Cold War, collapse of communism, operations Desert Shield and Desert Storm, as well as increasing operations in traditional mission areas.

Later lifeEdit

Upon his retirement in 1994, he brought his leadership to the maritime industry, serving as the chief executive officer of management companies in the United States, United Kingdom, Norway and Sweden. Until 2005, he served as the U.S. representative to the Baltic and International Maritime Council (BIMCO), the world’s largest private shipping organization.

He died of cancer in Towson, Maryland, on 14 September 2006 at age 72. A memorial service was held at the Fort Myer Memorial Chapel, Arlington, Virginia, on 29 September followed by interment in Arlington National Cemetery on Coast Guard Hill.

Sources: ALCOAST 464/06 (R 142239Z SEP 06), ALCOAST 469/06 06 (R 152010Z SEP 06), ALCOAST 475/06 (R 202141Z SEP 06), and L.A. Times obituaries, September 20, 2006.

Awards and decorationsEdit

See alsoEdit


  1. ^ [1] Coast Guard Biography Archived 5 August 2012 at
  2. ^ Coast Guard budget request, fiscal year 1994: hearing before the Subcommittee on Coast Guard and Navigation of the Committee on Merchant Marine and Fisheries, House of Representatives. Washington D.C.: Government Printing Office. 1993. p. 48.

External linksEdit