Florida Fallen Stories

Photo courtesy of Mark Krancer

Peter Skelte (John Smith)

Coxswain. Born in the Baltic port city of Libau, Russia (Latvia today), on June 3, 1890, Skelte (using the name John Smith) immigrated to Key West in 1914, entering the U.S. via Havana, Cuba. An expert seaman, Smith joined the U.S. Coast Guard on June 1, 1917, at Key West. The USCGC Smith (CGSC 155), a submarine chaser built by the Gibbs Gas Engine Company of Jacksonville, Florida and transferred to the Coast Guard on November 22, 1919, at Key West, was named in his honor. (USCG Service Card; Veterans Administration Master Index)




The USCGC Smith (CGSC 155) in 1931, six years before its decommissioning.

Peter Skelte (John Smith) was on board the USCGC Tampa. To read about the Tampa, please click here.