John Witherspoon (USCG)
John Witherspoon was a distinguished sailor in the United States Coast Guard. Witherspoon started his military career in the United States Army, enlisted in the Coast Guard in 1963, where, after promotion to Quartermaster First Class, he was invited to attended Officer training school, and was commissioned an ensign, in 1971. Witherspoon would eventually command three Coast Guard cutters, Mallow Valiant and Dependable, and rise to the rank of Captain. He was only the second individual of African-American descent to command a cutter, and was the first individual of African-American descent to command a Coast Guard Base.
Witherspoon died in 1994.
In 1994 the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP), named Witherspoon and a Coast Guard colleague Cynthia M. Morris, as recipients of the Roy Wilkins Meritious Service Award for their achievements in civil rights.
The Coast Guard established an annual award for distinguished leadership named after Witherspoon.
In 2010, Charles "Skip" W. Bowen, who was then the Coast Guard's most senior non-commissioned officer, proposed that all the cutters in the Template:Sclass2- should be named after enlisted sailors in the Coast Guard, or one of its precursor services, who were recognized for their heroism. In 2019 the Coast Guard announced that John Witherspoon would be the namesake of the 58th cutter, Template:USCGC.
- "Captain John Witherspoon, USCG (Ret.)". USCG. 2008-07-28. Archived from the original on 2008-10-03. https://web.archive.org/web/20081003230131/https://www.uscg.mil/history/people/John_Witherspoon.asp. Retrieved 2019-11-19. "Upon taking command of CGC Mallow in 1982, Witherspoon became the second African-American officer to command a Coast Guard cutter."
- "NAACP recognizes CG members". Commandant's Bulletin: p. 29. November 1994. https://books.google.ca/books?id=gd9OpMujsGkC&pg=RA1-PA29&lpg=RA1-PA29&dq=%22john+Witherspoon%22+OR+%22John+G.+Witherspoon%22+obituary+1994+-comedian+-wayans&source=bl&ots=EGVsnIKIDI&sig=ACfU3U0gJqUuMSbbvX3Zj3LcfaMXHvzS0w&hl=en&sa=X&ved=2ahUKEwjvpu6qsvjlAhUMheAKHSiHA7oQ6AEwN3oECGIQAQ#v=onepage&q=%22john%20Witherspoon%22%20OR%20%22John%20G.%20Witherspoon%22%20obituary%201994%20-comedian%20-wayans&f=false. Retrieved 2019-11-20. "The NAACP annually recognizes members of the Armed Forces for their achievements in the field of civil rights."
- "Captain John G. Witherspoon Inspirational Leadership Award". USCG. https://www.dcms.uscg.mil/Our-Organization/Assistant-Commandant-for-Human-Resources-CG-1/Civilian-Human-Resources-Diversity-and-Leadership-Directorate-CG-12/Office-of-Leadership-CG-12C/Inspirational-Leadership-Awards/Witherspoon-Award/. Retrieved 2019-11-20. "He was the first African-American to command a Coast Guard shore unit when he assumed command of the Houston/Galveston Vessel Traffic Service."
- Susan Schept (2010-03-22). "Enlisted heroes honored". United States Coast Guard. Archived from the original on 2011-12-03. https://web.archive.org/web/20111203173204/http://militarytimes.com/blogs/scoopdeck/2010/03/22/enlisted-heroes-honored/. Retrieved 2013-02-01. "After the passing of several well-known Coast Guard heroes last year, Master Chief Petty Officer of the Coast Guard Charles "Skip" Bowen mentioned in his blog that the Coast Guard does not do enough to honor its fallen heroes."
- "U.S. Coast Guard announces name for first Sentinel-class cutter". 2010-03-22. http://www.piersystem.com/go/doc/786/502127/. Retrieved 2013-02-01. "Previously designated to be named the Coast Guard Cutter Sentinel, the cutter Bernard C. Webber will be the first of the service's new 153-foot patrol cutters. Coast Guard Commandant Admiral Thad Allen approved the change of the cutter's name to allow this class of vessels to be named after outstanding enlisted members who demonstrated exceptional heroism in the line of duty. This will be the first class of cutters to be named exclusively for enlisted members of the Coast Guard and its predecessor services."
- "FRC Plan B: The Sentinel Class". Defense Industry Daily. 2014-05-02. Archived from the original on 2014-07-07. https://web.archive.org/web/20140707003537/http://www.defenseindustrydaily.com/voted-off-the-island-the-uscgs-deepwater-frc-program-03160/. Retrieved 2014-04-03. "All of these boats will be named after enlisted Coast Guard heroes, who distinguished themselves in USCG or military service. The first 25 have been named, but only 8 have been commissioned..."
- "Coast Guard releases names of next 10 Fast Response Cutters". Coast Guard News (Washington, DC). 2019-10-23. https://coastguardnews.com/coast-guard-releases-names-of-next-10-fast-response-cutters/2019/10/23/. Retrieved 2019-11-07. "Continuing the Sentinel Class’ tradition of honoring women and men who distinguished themselves while serving as enlisted Coast Guard members throughout the history of the Service, FRCs 55–64 bear the names of leaders, trailblazers and heroes of the Coast Guard and its forbearers."