NEW LONDON, Conn. (AP) — Merle Smith Jr., the first Black cadet to graduate from the Coast Guard Academy, has died, his family said. He was 76.
Smith died June 16 of complications from Parkinson’s disease and COVID-19, his wife, Lynda Smith, said.
Smith commanded a cutter in Vietnam, taught law classes at the academy in New London and retired from active-duty service with the rank of Coast Guard commander before joining the legal staff of submarine builder Electric Boat.
The academy’s superintendent, Rear Adm. William Kelly, said in an email to the campus community that Smith “served