Our Man of the Month for August is Rear
Admiral Jean Hodgkins Hawley.
in Colton, N.Y., the Admiral attended the local schools and
later entered Clarkson College of Technology and was graduated
In November of the same year Admiral Hawley entered the Coast
Survey. From 1908 to 1910 he was a junior field officer, his
parties operating along the Atlantic Coast.
During the years 1910 to 1913 he served as junior officer and
executive officer of the ship ROMBLON in the Philippines; during
1914 to 1919 he conducted wire drag parties along the Atlantic
Coast and in 1920 he commanded the ship ONWARD on the Atlantic
1921 saw him assigned as Commanding Officer of the ships WENONAH
and EXPLORER, operating in Alaska where he received one of the
greatest thrills of his life. We’ll tell more about this
later. His work kept him in this region until 1923 when he again
returned to the Atlantic to command the LYDONIA until he came
to the office in 1924 and was made Chief of the Coast Pilot
Section and Chief of the Engraving Section.
On July 1st, 1930, he attained the rank of Commander and later
sent to Manila as Director of Coast Surveys.
Returning to the office in Oct. 1932 he was appointed Assistant
Director under Admiral R. S. Patton and has remained in this
office until the present.
On Feb. 25th of this year  the Admiral was reappointed
Assistant Director and promoted to the rank of Rear Admiral,
a promotion that proved to be one of the most popular ever granted
in this office as he is held in high esteem by the officers
and civilian workers.
The Admiral is a member of the American Society of Civil Engineers,
the Washington Society of Engineers, and the Society of American
Military Engineers. He has contributed many writings dwelling
on his engineering activities among them being: Construction
and Operation of Wire Drag, Construction and Operation of Wire
Drags and Sweeps, Radio Acoustic Position Finding, and Distances
A quiet and stern looking gentleman always seeming to be attending
strictly to business, yet as one becomes better acquainted with
him, he quickly learns of his sympathetic and earnest regard
for his fellow men….
We salute the Admiral and wish him all success and hope for
his association with us for a long, long time to come.
“The Buzzard,” Vol. IX, No. 32, pp. 1-4. August
October 1st was marked by the retirement of
Rear Admiral J.H. Hawley,
who has served as Assistant Director of the Coast and Geodetic
Survey since his appointment to that post under the late Admiral
R.S. Patton in October 1932. Prior to that date he had served
as junior officer and executive officer of the Ship ROMBLON
in the Philippines, and commanded the Ships ONWARD and LYDONIA
on the Atlantic Coast and the Ships WENONAH and EXPLORER in
Alaskan waters. His last assignment before becoming Assistant
Director was that of Director of Coastal Surveys in Manila.
Since joining the Survey in November 1907, after graduating
from Clarkson College of Technology, Admiral Hawley has seen
the Bureau grow from a small outfit in the "horse and buggy"
days of surveying to a streamlined organization utilizing all
the many improvements in methods and instruments. He played
a leading role in this transition. To name but one part, he
was instrumental in the development of the wire drag method
of locating pinnacle rocks and wrecked ships, and among his
many technical writings may be found "Construction and Operation
of Wire Drag."
On the lighter side may be found his fondness for sports and
his skill in wood carving. His marked ability as an after-dinner
speaker has been demonstrated to the members of the Bureau at
several bowling banquets.
An "Officer and a Gentleman," he has always been known as a
very easy going man, but it is said that there was not an officer
in the Survey that could get more out of his men because of
his faculty for handling men well and demanding strict adherence
to duty, and hold their high esteem and great respect.
WAS A BLOOMIN' HOT DAY
Strange how a common event can stir up on one kind of day an
impulse which on some other kind of day would not be stirred
up. Forty-two years ago a young guy was crossing the Brooklyn
Bridge and he happened to glance down toward the water below.
Now this youngster had only recently graduated from Clarkson
College of Technology at Potsdam, New York, and the Brooklyn
Bridge crossing was part of a daily routine to and from his
What he saw on the water below on this day, 42 years ago was
more or less a regular sight but it had never affected him before
like it did on this day. It was a blooming hot day; and brother,
it was really hot. Down there on the water it looked cool, shadows
covered part of the water, and the shadow backgrounded a little
It was a blooming hot day; yes, we said that before, but it
was still blooming hot and that ship looked so cool. Ah, that
would be the life! By golly, that's what the professor was talking
about at the commencement exercises. Just a minute---that was
Professor John F. Hayford and he was the chief of what was called
the "Coast and Geodetic Survey." Yep, that's it---the Coast
and Geodetic Survey. And didn't he say something about the Coast
and Geodetic Survey making surveys of coastal waters and the
work was done from little white ships? Sure enough, he did say
It was a blooming hot day. But the youngster by that time had
a hot idea. He had put all the pieces together to get that hot
idea. Yep, hot day, cool shadows, little white ship, Coast and
Geodetic Survey. Boy, that's the life for me! And he acted accordingly.
Then came: application, examination, rating, certification,
acceptance, oath of office, and he was in. He was in the Service
with the little white ships. Blooming hot days? He was going
to cool off in the little white ship in the Coast and Geodetic
Thirty long years elapsed before that same guy, now a middle-agedster,
passed up that same river in the shadows on a---no, not a little
but a---much larger ship and this time, instead of over, under
the Brooklyn Bridge and as commanding officer of that larger
ship. Twenty years it took him to get from sweltering heat on
one bridge to soothing hibernacle of another bridge.
Think what might have happened if it had not been a blooming
hot day and that young guy had looked straight ahead instead
of down toward the water, with the shadow on it, and the little
white ship. What a catastrophe that would have been! Haven't
you guessed by now?
Folks, you all know that guy--the astute, kind-hearted, genial
dry-humor-soaked, JEAN HODGKINS HAWLEY.
THE BUZZARD, Vol. 17, No. 4., 10/4/1949