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Captain Albert J. Hoskinson, Chief, Geodesy Division, retired from active duty in the albert hoskinsonCoast and Geodetic Survey, U.S. Department of Commerce on July 1, 1955, after an outstanding career of more than 34 years.

Captain Hoskinson was born June 6, 1895, at Russell Springs, Kansas. He received his education at the University of California, graduating in 1920 with a Bachelor of Science Degree in civil engineering. He entered on duty in this Bureau May 9, 1921, as Deck Officer and has advanced successively through the various ranks to his present position.

During his long career with the Coast and Geodetic Survey, Captain Hoskinson has served in various phases of the Bureau's activities, making his main contribution in the field of geodesy. The early part of his service was devoted to geodetic and hydrographic assignments in Alaska, the Philippine Islands, and in various areas of the United States. On March 18, 1949, he was appointed Assistant Chief, Geodesy Division and on November 1, 1952, he as appointed Chief of that division.

In 1936 he was selected as one of three geophysicists to use the Vening Mainesz pendulum apparatus with the United States Navy-American Geophysical Union Gravity-at-Sea Expedition aboard the Submarine BARRACUDA in the West Indies. With Dr. Maurice Ewing he introduced the use of a new type of crystal chronometer which afforded great precision in time control during the entire expedition.

Captain Hoskinson has made significant improvements in the methods and techniques for making gravity observations. Among these are the development of a method of setting up the Brown gravity instrument at Coast and Geodetic Survey field stations to minimize the variations in the flexure, a method of observing and recording which shortened the time of swing required at a gravity station from 12 to 6 hours; a determination of the effects of buoyancy and damping of the pendulum at extremely low pressures; and a system of using two gravity instruments simultaneously at each field station to provide an immediate check on the constancy of the pendulums and the accuracy of the work.

He was also responsible for the design and construction of special instruments used in geodetic work, including a new type of electronic samplifier for the Brown gravity instrument, temperature control equipment, and an astronomic amplifier to eliminate relays in the circuits.

In World War I he served in Company A, 22nd Field Battalion from June 29, 1918 go January 28, 1919. During World War II, Captain Hoskinson was transferred by executive order to the War Department and assigned to the 14th Field Artillery Observation Battalion at Camp Roberts, California. Beginning in 1942 and for a period of 4 years he served as Survey Supervisor and Chief Instructor with rank of Lieutenant Colonel at Ft. Sill, Oklahoma. For his outstanding services and contribution to improvements in the speed and accuracy of artillery survey he was awarded the Legion of Merit by the War Department. He also was awarded the American Campaign Medal and World War II Victor Medal.

Captain Hoskinson was designated by the Department of State in 1952 as a member of the United States delegation to the 6th Consultation of the Commission on Cartography, Pan American Institute of Geography and History held at Cuidad Trujillo, Dominican Republic. During September of last year he served as delegate to the 10th General Assembly of the International Union of Geodesy and Geophysics in Rome.

He was awarded the 1954 Department of Commerce Silver Medal by the Secretary of Commerce for outstanding service to the Coast and Geodetic Survey and the Department.

Captain Hoskinson is the author of Special Publications of the Coast and Geodetic Survey, the Manual of Geodetic Astronomy and Geodetic Operations in the United States and in other areas through international cooperation, 1939-1953. He has also written special technical reports on gravity equipment and observations, crystal chronometers, and tidal gravity variations.

Captain Hoskinson is President of the Geodesy Section, American Geophysical Union. In 1954 he was Chairman of the Control Surveys Division, American Congress on Surveying and Mapping. He is also a member of the American Association for the Advancement of Sciences, American Astronomical Society, National Geographic Society, Society of American Military Engineers, Washington Society of Engineers, Washington Philosophical Society, and a life member of the California Alumni Association.

Captain and Mrs. Hoskinson reside at 4402 Fessenden Street, N.W., Washington, D.C. and for the immediate future plan to remain at their present address. The BUZZARD and Coast and Geodetic Survey extend best wishes to Captain Hoskinson for a very happy retirement. "Contributions to science in the development of gravimetric and astronomic instruments and procedures and outstanding performance over a long period of time."

Captain Hoskinson, Chief of the Geodesy Division, has been an officer in the Coast Survey for 32 years. The award which he received represented the major role which he has played in the last 20 years in the development of gravity measurement techniques. Due to Captain Hoskinson's efforts and guidance the Bureau's pendulum gravity system has been developed and maintained as one of the few such systems in the world recognized as capable of meeting current accuracy requirements. In addition to his achievements in the Coast Survey he was assigned as Head of the Survey Department, U.S. Army Field Artillery School at Fort Sill in Oklahoma during World War II and was largely responsible for the successful operation of the training program teaching several new techniques in pin pointing artillery fire. For this outstanding service with the Army he received the Legion of Merit.

June 6, 1895 - August 21, 1987

Captain Albert J. Hoskinson was born June 6, 1895, in Russel Springs, Kansas. He attended the University of California where he received a Bachelor Science Degree in Civil Engineering. He was appointed as Deck Officer on May 9, 1921, and commissioned an Ensign on February 24, 1922.

During Captain Hoskinson's 34-year career, he was assigned to the following ships: EXPLORER, PIONEER, DISCOVERER, NATOMA as Executive Officer, FATHOMER as Executive Officer and the OCEANOGRAPHER as Executive Officer. His other assignments included various gravity, astronomic, tides and current, and level parties throughout the United States. He was a Special Assistant and Instructor at the Field Artillery School at Ft. Sill, Oklahoma. At the time of his retirement, July 1, 1955, he was Chief of the Geodesy Division.

During World War II, he was transferred to the War Department where he served with the 14th Observation Battalion as Bridge Survey Officer. He was awarded the World War II Certificate of Service, the Legion of Merit, the World War II Victory Medal, the American Campaign Medal, the Defense Service Ribbon and the Atlantic War Zone Ribbon.

Captain Hoskinson's wife, Marion, passed way in 1974. He is survived by one sister.

 

A THING OF PRIDE

Recently I attended the funeral of Captain Albert Hoskinson, NOAA (Retired) who died at 92 years of age. Prior to attending his funeral, I read Captain Hoskinson's Service Report, and at the funeral I spoke with people who knew him. Although I never met Captain Hoskinson, I developed respect for him as the day progressed.

Born in 1895, Captain Hoskinson grew up on the Great Plains before there was huge machinery to lighten the farm chores. During World War I, he was "over there" serving as a Sergeant in the U.S. Army. Beginning in 1921, he served with the U.S. Coast and Geodetic Survey on almost continuous mobile field duty throughout the United States until war came again in 1941.

During World War II he won the Legion of Merit for "exceptionally meritorious conduct in the performance of duty" while serving with the U.S. Army under his U.S. Coast and Geodetic Survey commission. After World War II, Captain Hoskinson continued to serve at higher levels of responsibility until his retirement in 1955 with 34 years, 8 months, and 22 days of creditable active service.

As I watched the flag-draped coffin, I reflected that it had taken many people like Captain Hoskinson to make this country strong, productive, and free. He had indeed earned those stripes under which he rested--through sacrifices in two wars and during many years of service.

The willingness to make sacrifices in service to the country earns you more than a paycheck. It justifies dignity. A career in the Service is more than a job; it's "a thing of pride."

By Captain Robert V. Smart


THE BUZZARD, 3/1954, 6/30/1955
NOAA CORPS BULLETIN, 9/1/1987

NOAA CORPS BULLETIN, 10/1/1987

 


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