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Captain Ector B. Latham was born on November 23, 1900, in Rockton, South Carolina. Heector latham graduated from the University of Maryland with a Bachelor of Science Degree in Civil Engineering in June 1924. He was appointed as Deck Officer on June 5, 1925, and later was commissioned as Ensign on March 8, 1926.

During his 32-year career, Captain Latham served aboard the NOAA Ships EXPLORER, SURVEYOR, HYDROGRAPHER, first as Watch Officer and later as Commanding Officer; the COWIE as Commanding Officer, the PIONEER as Executive Officer, and his last sea assignment as Commanding Officer, NOAA Ship BOWIE. His other assignments included Geodesy, working in the East and Midwest, Washington, D.C., Potomac River, Mountain States, and Florida; Hydrography and Triangulation in New York; and at the time of his retirement on October 1, 1957, the Midwestern District in Portland, Oregon.

Captain Latham was transferred to the jurisdiction of the War Department on September 3, 1942. He received several commendations. His commendation from Headquarters 2nd Engineer Special Brigade stated: "Major Ector B. Latham, K-100025, 532nd Engineer Boat and Shore Regiment, is commended for his outstanding services during the development of the Finschhafen, New Guinea area from September 22, 1943 to November 15, 1943. At night and under adverse weather conditions, Major Latham piloted Naval and Brigade craft through uncharted and dangerous waters without mishap. He personally navigated the majority of early resupply missions from Lae to Scarlet Beach and Finsch Harbor. He displayed rare courage and coolness under enemy fire, always being an example to the officers and men under his command. In addition, Major Latham has prepared detailed hydrographic surveys for Finsch Harbor, Langemak Bay, Schneider, and Dreger Harbors."

During this time he was awarded the Purple Heart for injuries received in action north of Saidor, New Guinea on March 6, 1944. He was authorized to wear the Philippine Liberation Ribbon and two Bronze Stars, the World War II Victory Medal, the Asiatic Pacific Campaign Medal with two Bronze Stars and a Bronze Arrowhead.

He is survived by his wife, Grace and one daughter, Lucy Anne Hauser.





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Last Updated: June 8, 2006 9:27 AM

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