Albert J. Hoskinson,
Chief, Geodesy Division, retired from active duty in the Coast
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
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
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
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
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.
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
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
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