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Captain Earl O. Heaton, Chief, Coastal Surveys Division, retired from active duty on July 1, 1956, after 37 years and 11 months as a commissioned officer in the Coast and Geodetic Survey.

Captain Heaton was born in Potsdam, New York, on June 8, 1896. He received his education in the Potsdam public schools, Potsdam Normal School, and was graduated from Clarkson College in June 1918 with the degree of Bachelor of Science in civil engineering. He entered on duty in the Coast and Geodetic Survey August 2,1918, as Ensign and his first assignment was with a precise leveling party in North Carolina. He continued on geodetic surveys in the southern states until May 1920 when he was made Chief of a subparty on first-order triangulation in California and Oregon. He served as Chief of first-order triangulation parties operating in Oklahoma, Texas, and New Mexico; and Chief of Party on reconnaissance, 49th parallel. During his long and faithful service in the Coast and Geodetic Survey he spent 21 years in the field on geodetic and hydrographic operations in 27 states, in Canada, Alaska, and in the Hawaiian Islands. In 1921 Captain Heaton completed the second transcontinental arc of first-order triangulation, and in 1925 and 1926 he was in charge of comprehensive surveys in Rochester, New York, and Atlanta, Georgia.

His sea duty included assignments as navigator, executive officer and commanding officer of Bureau ships. Among these assignments were Commanding Officer of the Ships LYDONIA and WESTDAHL and Executive Officer of the Ships PIONEER and EXPLORER.

Before taking command of the Ship WESTDAHL, Captain Heaton served in the Hawaiian Islands as Honolulu District Officer, which included supervision of the Honolulu Magnetic and Seismological Observatories. Following this assignment he reported to the Washington Office for duty as Chief of Hydrography Branch, Coastal Surveys Division and Assistant Chief of the division from the Spring of 1943 to July 1948 when he assumed the duties of the Norfolk District Officer. In this capacity he served effectively as liaison officer with the Armed Forces. His able public relations work with the various civic groups in Norfolk was a distinct asset to the Bureau.

On March 1, 1952, Captain Heaton returned to the Washington Office of Coast Surveys Division, where he served until the date of his retirement.

With each assignment the scope of service rendered by him was broadened immeasurably and he leaves behind him a fine record of achievement. Among his more notable achievements was the development of a small signal lamp for first-order traverse on city control surveys; he recommended a movable section in the superstructure of Bilby steel towers; he devised the one-drum type mounting for radio buoys on the East Coast. He was United States delegate to the 6th International Conference held at Monte Carlo, Monaco during April 1952. He has presented many papers on the work of the Coast and Geodetic Survey before various engineering societies.

Captain Heaton is a member of the American Society of Civil Engineers, Society of American Military Engineers, and Propeller Club of the United States. He is listed in Who's Who in America, American Men of Science and Who's Who in Engineering. He is a 32nd degree Scottish Rite Mason of Albert Pike Consistory, a Shriner of Almas Temple, a Sojourner, and a member of the Heroes of '76.

Captain and Mrs. Heaton have one son, Glenn E. Heaton, who is a student at Ohio State University.

Captain and Mrs. Heaton have given up their residence in Alexandria, Virginia and Mrs. Heaton has gone to Potsdam for the summer, while Captain Heaton will spend several weeks in Indonesia. Mail can be addressed to them at 24 Bay Street, Potsdam, New York.

June 18, 1896 - March 27, 1986

Captain Earl O. Heaton was born June 18, 1896, in Potsdam, New York. He graduated in June 1918 from Clarkson College of Technology with a Bachelor of Science Degree in Civil Engineering. In 1925 he was awarded a Civil Engineering Degree from Clarkson. Captain Heaton was appointed as an Extra Observer on August 2, 1918, and later commissioned as Ensign on September 2, 1919.

During Captain Heaton's 37-year career, he was assigned aboard the following ships: LYDONIA, WESTDAHL, PIONEER, and the EXPLORER. Other assignments included geodetic and hydrographic work in 29 states and Canada; Supervisor of the Honolulu Field Station, Chief, Hydrography Section; Assistant Chief, Coastal Surveys Division, Supervisor of the Southeastern District Office at Norfolk, Advisor on the U.S. Delegation to the 6th Session of the ICAO Maps and Charts Division, and at the time of his retirement (July 1, 1956,) as Chief, Coastal Surveys Division.

During World War II he was awarded the Pacific War Zone Ribbon for working on projects for the Department of the Navy in areas determined by the Navy to be of immediate military hazard.

Captain Heaton is survived by one son, Glen E. Heaton.

THE BUZZARD, 7/27/1956

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Last Updated: June 8, 2006 9:27 AM

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