CMDR Merle J. Smith Jr., American, died 2021 Search this
United States Coast Guard, American, founded 1790 Search this
cotton (fiber) and plastic with thread
H x W: 32 1/2 × 19 3/4 in. (82.6 × 50.2 cm)
Viet Nam, Asia
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 green fatigue uniform jacket worn by United States Coast Guard Lt. Merle J. Smith, Jr. The jacket has four pockets in the front. The sleeves are flared with buttons attached to the cuffs near the body. At the collar corners are two patches with black stitched letters. The patch on the proper right side is the last name of the wearer that reads "SMITH." The patch on the proper left side is for the coast guard and reads "U.S. COAST GUARD." Attached to the collar on either side are bars indicating this jacket is for a lieutenant junior grade. Inside the jacket are labels indicating the size and washing instructions.