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The Yost Guard

When I was commissioned as an Ensign in the Coast Guard in December 1983, I was fortunate enough to meet the then Commandant of the Coast Guard, Admiral James S. Gracey.  It was quite an honor to receive my commission from the top dog.  Admiral Gracey was a personable guy who it was easy to take an instant liking to.  Of course, as an Ensign and then Lieutenant (junior grade) you really don't give a lot of thought to the Commandant.  That certainly changed when Admiral Paul Yost took over as Commandant in 1986.  Admiral Yost really shook things up.  He was huge into the whole "Maritime Defense Zone" concept and really wanted to align the Coast Guard more with the Navy.  While this was disturbing to some members, his decision to ban the wearing of beards may be his legacy - at least among many long time members from that era.  While I had worn a beard briefly, I had long shaved it off before I reported to the Ironwood in October 1985.  The decision did not sit well with some of the guys on the Ironwood.  Below is a scan of an interview with the Commandant taken from a 1986 Commandant's Bulletin.  You can click on one of the images to open the set in a viewing window.
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