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Catalog Data

Manufactured by:
Jacob Reed's Sons, American, 1824 - 1983  Search this
Worn by:
CMDR Merle J. Smith Jr., American, died 2021  Search this
Subject of:
United States Coast Guard, American, founded 1790  Search this
wool (textile) with leather, metal, thread and plastic
H x W x D: 32 × 19 3/4 in. (81.3 × 50.2 cm)
Commander Merle J. Smith, Jr. became the first African American graduate of the United States Coast Guard Academy in 1966. While serving in Vietnam as a cutter commander, Smith became the first African American to command a U.S. warship in close-quarters combat and was awarded the Bronze Star for actions in 1969.
A United States Coast Guard Commander's dinner dress blue jacket worn by CMDR Merle J. Smith, Jr. Each sleeve has three gold stripes and a United States shield at the cuff. Each side of the jacket has an angled row of three gold buttons, with one button missing from the proper right side. Two more smaller gold buttons are at the center of the jacket opening. Inside the proper left side near the front is a label in yellow print stitched to the interior lining: "TAILORED FOR THE / UNITED STATES / COAST GUARD / ACADEMY / by Jacob Reed's Sons / FINE UNIFORMS - SINCE 1824."
African American  Search this
Clothing and dress  Search this
Military  Search this
Vietnam War, 1961-1975  Search this
Credit Line:
Collection of the Smithsonian National Museum of African American History and Culture, Gift of Merle J. Smith, Jr.
Object number:
Restrictions & Rights:
No Known Copyright Restrictions
Proper usage is the responsibility of the user.
See more items in:
National Museum of African American History and Culture Collection
Double Victory: The African American Military Experience
On View:
NMAAHC (1400 Constitution Ave NW), National Mall Location, Community/Third Floor, 3 053
Data Source:
National Museum of African American History and Culture