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Commander William D. Patterson was born on May 3, 1895, in Neosho, Wisconsin. He attended the University of Wisconsin.

Commander Patterson was appointed as one of the original members of the U.S. Coast and Geodetic Survey commissioned service in 1917. During his 30-year career, he served aboard numerous ships including the EQUATOR (wire drag), the EXPLORER as Watch Officer and later as Executive Officer, the FATHOMER, PATHFINDER, MARINDUQUE, BACHE as 2nd Officer and later as Executive Officer, the HYDROGRAPHER as Executive Officer, the SURVEYOR, the MARINDUQUE as Commanding Officer, the OCEANOGRAPHER as Executive Office, the GUIDE and the PIONEER as Commanding Officer. He received his Chief Mate's license any ocean, any tonnage, on December 10, 1927. While in command of the PIONEER during the years 1940 and 1941, he was successful in extending the scheme of triangulation in the vicinity of Yunasaka, Seguam, Amlia, and Atka Island, Aleutian Chain, Territory of Alaska. Other assignments included Wire Drag Parties in Alaska, Coast Pilot Division, and construction of several Magnetic and Seismology Observatories in Tucson, Arizona, Sitka, Alaska, Honolulu, Hawaii, and Fairbanks, Alaska. At the time of his retirement March1, 1948, he was assigned to the San Francisco Field Station. He held membership in the American Society of Civil Engineers and the American Association for the Advancement of Science and authored numerous sections of the U.S. Coast Pilot.

Commander Patterson's wife, the former Julia C. Gross, died March 18, 1975. He is survived by his three children--two sons, Robert A., and Omar, and one daughter, Juliet M. Hinnenberg.


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Last Updated: June 8, 2006 9:27 AM

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