Smith, Merle J., Jr.
- Tasnim Rahman
the first African American Coast Guard Academy graduate, was born in Maryland to Merle J. Smith Sr., a United States army officer, and Jacqueline Thomas Smith. He was the first son born in the family, followed by a brother, Thomas. Growing up, Smith sought to emulate the courage and attitude of his father, a colonel in the United States Army who served the nation for twenty-six years, from 1944 to 1970, with assignments in Germany, Korea, Japan, and the United States. Colonel Merle J. Smith Sr. also served the Reserve Officer Training Corps programs at Howard University and Morgan State University, and joined the Command and General Staff College at Fort Leavenworth, Kansas. After the colonel retired from military service, he became executive assistant to the vice president for health affairs at Howard University, a position he held until his death in December 1986 In Merle Smith Jr ...
A version of this article originally appeared in African American National Biography.