R 101644Z APR 15
SUBJ: DEATH OF RETIRED GOLD BADGE COMMAND MASTER CHIEF – MEMORIAL SERVICE AND BURIAL
A. A. USCG Regulations, COMDTINST M5000.3 (series)
1. The Master Chief Petty Officer of the Coast Guard announces with regret the death of MCPO James L. Bridges, USCG (retired), Gold Badge CMC, on 30 March 2015, in Charleston, SC.
2. A memorial service will be held on 11 April 2015 at 1400 at Cokesbury UMC, 4990 Dorchester Rd N. Charleston, SC. In lieu of flowers, the family requests donations to the Carolina Youth Development Center.
3. James L. Bridges took his first oath of enlistment in 1956 just two weeks after his 17th birthday and began his military service in the USN serving aboard the USS VULCAN and USS SHADWELL, earned the rate of Machinist Mate, and trained as a frogman and rescue swimmer. He then continued and completed his career with the USCG duty assignments: CGC ANDROSCOGGIN, Recruiting Office Atlanta, CGC WINNEBEGO, MSO Wilmington, MIO New York, CGC NORTHWIND, CGC INGHAM, CGY SICP, CGY Steam School Chief, Icebreaker Support Seattle, CGD1 CEA, and CGY CEA. Bridges was advanced to Master Chief on 01AUG80 and his Gold Badge designation was awarded on 01JUN82. This was by far the most rewarding achievement of his career. Bridges career is marked with abundant commendations of service to others from civilians, dependents, community leaders, commands, and especially fellow service personnel. Just a few of the above and beyond examples include: CPR for hours on a civilian heart attack victim during Shore Patrol duty, volunteer for high seas rescues, diver repairs, create and train D1 volunteer Honor Guard to conduct military funerals, parades, and color detail for Game 5 of the 1986 World Series, create and conduct multiple dependent and childrens events, public spokesman for the command, successful changes to Uniform Regulations to restore non-rates eligibility to wear the Cutterman Pin and enlisted personnel to wear Mess Dress uniforms, organized CG picnics, fund raisers, and command events. His service jacket records a long history of a Chief who left his duty assignments better than he found them. He was also noted for representing the CG in his community work throughout several duty stations for: Red Cross, United Way, Special Olympics, Lions Club, homeless shelters, and food banks. Bridges served as Chapter President and delegate in the CPOA, successful CPOA headquarters Building Committee Chair and Brick Fund, and respectfully initiated many a new Chief as their Judge. He was an avid golfer participating in tournaments and representing the CG in Atlanta Pro-Am events. And even in his retirement years, he dedicated his time and talents to CPOA, CG reunions, and the Charleston Chiefs Mess. His formal awards include: CG Commendation Medal, CG Achievement Medal, CG LOC, Combat Action Ribbon, Presidential Unit Citation, CG Unit Commendation, USN Unit Commendation (3), CG Good Conduct (6), USN Good Conduct, National Defense Service Medal (2), CG Arctic Service Medal, Armed Forces Expeditionary Medal, Vietnam Service Medal (4), CG Sea Service Ribbon (4), Republic of Vietnam Unit Citation (2), Republic of Vietnam Campaign Medal, and CG Rifleman Sharpshooter.
4. He will be greatly missed but always remembered by family and friends, his Wife Greta, the love of his life for 35 years, and his generations of children and grandchildren.
5. RDML Meredith Austin, Commander, CG Personnel Service Center, sends.
6. Internet release authorized.
R 101644Z APR 15