Richard Arnold Bauman – Rear Admiral, United States Navy

Coast Guard Admiral Richard A. Bauman Dies

By Joe Holley
Courtesy of TheWashington Post
Saturday, February 26, 2005

Richard Arnold Bauman, 80, a retired Coast Guard Rear Admiral and Merchant Marine officer who saw duty in World War II and in Vietnam, died February 15, 2005, of cancer at his home in Annandale., Virginia.

Admiral Bauman was born in Fitchburg, Massachusetts, and graduated from what is now the Massachusetts Maritime Academy in 1943. He began his career in the Merchant Marine as third mate on the liberty ship Stephen C. Foster, which offloaded bombs on Omaha Beach at Normandy from shortly after D-Day in June 1944 until that September.

He served in the Merchant Marine for 14 years, the last nine as “a coal boat stiff” on boats plying the Atlantic Coast. He remained a Merchant Marine officer until he joined the Coast Guard in 1957.

In the Coast Guard, he was commissioned a Lieutenant, and in 1967 became commanding officer of a Coast Guard division operating out of Da Nang, Vietnam. He took part in the coastal patrol portion of Operation Market Time and was the inshore division commander on February 29, 1968, when his squadron intercepted and destroyed a North Vietnamese steel-hulled trawler at Cape Mia in southern Vietnam. The munitions-laden trawler exploded after being fired on by Admiral Bauman's cutter, the Point Welcome.

“That's the closest I ever came to buying it,” he told friends.

He retired as commander of the 1st Coast Guard District in Boston in 1983. His decorations included the Legion of Merit, the Bronze Star with Combat “V” and two awards of the Meritorious Service Medal. He was a graduate of the National War College.

In retirement, he joined other volunteers in the effort to save the John W. Brown, a World War II liberty ship. For 36 years, the ship had been a floating vocational high school in New York City and then was on the James River for five years as part of the National Reserve Fleet. Admiral Bauman and his fellow volunteers restored it.

“He got down in the holds and cleaned out the muck right alongside everybody else,” fellow volunteer Ernie Imhoff said. Berthed in Baltimore Harbor, where its keel had been laid in 1942, the Brown is one of only two liberty ships that are still operational.

Admiral Bauman was a noted lighthouse expert and had climbed 680 of the 740 lighthouses in the United States. The high point of his lighthouse research occurred in 1994, when he participated in the relighting of the U.S.-operated lighthouse on Navassa Island off the coast of Haiti.

He also collected the “Steve Canyon” comic strip and had every one of the daily and Sunday strips from 1948 to 1990. Responding to a request from Mrs. Bauman, cartoonist Milton Caniff researched the service ribbons for which his comic-strip creation Steve Canyon was eligible and included them, for the first time, in a drawing that he presented to Admiral Bauman as a welcome-home gift when he returned from Vietnam in 1968.

Admiral Bauman's wife, Dorothy H. Bauman, died in 1998.

Survivors include four children, Richard A. Bauman Jr. of Pikesville, Maryland, Robert A. Bauman of Arlington, William L. Bauman of Falls Church and Elizabeth Simpson of Longwood, Fla.; two sisters; a brother; and three grandchildren.

Courtesy of Project Liberty Ship:

Rear Admiral Richard A. Bauman, United States Coast Guard, Retired, died February 15, 2005, at the age of 80.


Admiral Bauman was born August 16, 1924, in Fitchburg, Massachusetts, and graduated from the Massachusetts Maritime Academy in 1944. Following graduation he sailed as a licensed deck officer in the U.S. Merchant Marine with wartime service in various Atlantic and Mediterranean convoys, and participated in the invasion of Normandy aboard the Liberty ship STEVEN C. FOSTER at Omaha Beach. After World War II, Admiral Bauman remained in the merchant marine until 1957, holding an unlimited master's license and a first class pilot license for the waters from Massachusetts to Virginia.

He received his commission as Lieutenant in the United States Coast Guard in 1957. His early assignments included Operations Officer on CGC CASCO (WHEC 370), Boston, Massachusetts; Marine Inspector in Portsmouth, Virginia and Savannah, Georgia; and Executive Officer on CGC CHINCOTEAGUE (WHEC 375), Norfolk, Virginia.

Admiral Bauman graduated from the Armed Forces Staff College in Norfolk, Virginia, in 1967. Upon graduation he reported for duty in the Republic of Vietnam, first as Chief Staff Officer of Squadron One and then as Division Commander of Division Twelve, where he commanded thirteen 82-foot patrol boats and two Navy Swift boats engaged in anti-infiltration duties. On February 29, 1968, patrol boats under his command intercepted an enemy trawler laden with arms and ammunition at Cape Mia. The enemy blew up the trawler to avoid capture. During this tour he was awarded the Navy Commendation Medal with Combat V, the Vietnamese Gallantry Cross with Gold Star, and the Bronze Star with Combat V.

Admiral Bauman returned to Norfolk in 1968 to serve as liaison officer to Commander-in-Chief, Atlantic Fleet. He commanded CGC INGHAM (WHEC 35) from February 1971 to May 1973, followed by a one-year tour ashore as Chief, Information Systems Division at Coast Guard Headquarters. In 1975 he graduated from the National War College and returned to Headquarters as Chief, Port Safety and Law Division. From 1978 to 1980 he was Chief of Operations in the Ninth Coast Guard District. He was promoted to Rear Admiral on July 1, 1980, and became the first Chief of the newly formed Office of Navigation. In June 1983 he assumed command of the First Coast Guard District. Admiral Bauman retired on June 30, 1985. Admiral Bauman held an honorary doctorate in public administration from the Massachusetts Maritime Academy.

After his retirement, Admiral Bauman joined the Liberty Ship Project in New York and became an avid volunteer when the SS JOHN W. BROWN came to Baltimore in 1988. He helped the ship in many ways, notably when he obtained on permanent loan most of the ship's guns from an arms depot in Indiana, earning him the nickname of “Guns” Bauman. But he maintained that his major contribution to the ship was his son, Rick, who has been the chief mate of the BROWN since 1988. Among his other interests, Admiral Bauman, as a noted lighthouse expert and historian, climbed 680 of the 740 lighthouses in the United States.

He married the love of his life, Dorothy (Dottie) Schmalz Bauman in 1948; she died in 1998. They had four children and three grandchildren; he is also survived by two brothers and a sister. Admiral Bauman always said that he wanted to be married for 50 years, command a large Coast Guard cutter, and become an Admiral; he got all his wishes. As he once wrote, “Few people get to do exactly what they want to do in life, and I am one of the most fortunate of these few.” Admiral Bauman was buried in Arlington National Cemetery.


  • DATE OF BIRTH: 08/16/1924
  • DATE OF DEATH: 02/15/2005


  • DATE OF BIRTH: 09/17/1927
  • DATE OF DEATH: 10/02/1998

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