Barrett Thomas Beard

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Lieutenant Commander Barrett Thomas Beard, USCG (ret.) began his military career when he enlisted in the United States Navy.  In 1955, he completed flight training and was commissioned into the Naval Reserve.  He flew missions in the A-1 Skyraidder and E-1 Tracer; and, completed a tour in Vietnam on Yankee Station.  He left the Navy and entered the United States Coast Guard.  During his entire military career he accumulated more than 6,000 flight hours.  Tom Beard is the author of Wonderful Flying Machines: A History of U.S. Coast Guard Helicopters and A Jaunty Little Boat from Poulsbo.  He is also a co-author of Coast Guard.


According to one reader of Wonderful Flying Machines: A History of U.S. Coast Guard Helicopters, “Tom is a gem. He's one of the few people who has written of Coast Guard Aviation who knows that of which he speaks, having been there and done it. This is not to disparage the various historians and popular authors such as Sebastian Junger who have tried to get a handle on what it is we do, but we Pterodactyls are a tight-lipped bunch to outsiders. But Tom is one of us, and we're glad he blabbed. He has done a meticulous study of Frank Erickson and the evolution of the search & rescue helicopter and the mundane, but necessary innovations such as the rescue hoist. Without the machinations that Frank went through, rescue at sea would be a very different business today. Many people do not understand that the United States Coast Guard INVENTED hoisting people from the water. Frank was brilliant, uncredited, and unknown, outside of CG Aviation. He was disdained by the seaplane community in the CG during his lifetime. The passage of time has proven Frank right. In his book, Tom grasped and articulated the struggle that Frank went through proving his theories and nicely packaged Igor Sikorsky's vision for the helicopter as a tool for humanitarian service. Even my non-flying friends enjoyed the book...which I recommend when they ask what the heck it is that I do for a living.”

Wonderful Flying Machines: A History of U.S. Coast Guard Helicopters
Barrett Thomas Beard  More Info

Coast Guard
Tom Beard  More Info
A jaunty little boat from Poulsbo (Traditional small craft of the Northwest)
Tom Beard  More Info

According to the book description of Coast Guard, “Written by an outstanding team of historians and officers, the definitive story of the U.S. Coast Guard is recorded for the first time in this magnificently illustrated, large-format book published with the Foundation for Coast Guard History. Stories of the "Coastie" experience as well as essays on history, lighthouses, search and rescue, aviation, the drug war, and the war on terrorism all share one common focus: the highly trained and motivated people who make it all work.”

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