Dates of Service: 12/11/1972 - 8/6/1974
Birth Date: 11/22/1934
Death Date: 8/11/2017
Thomas Coyne was born in Boston, Massachusetts on November 22, 1934 and attended local schools. He was commissioned an ensign on August 12, 1956 after graduating from the Massachusetts Maritime Academy. He served two years in the tank landing ships Tom Green County (LST-1159) and Lake County (LST-880), and then served another two years as an instructor at the Officer Candidate School. Adding to his education with two years at the Naval Postgraduate School, he became operations officer on a stores ship, and then served on Long Beach (CGN-9), the world’s first nuclear-powered surface warship. In 1964, Long Beach circumnavigated the globe in company with two other nuclear-powered warships, the aircraft carrier Enterprise (CVN-65) and guided missile frigate Bainbridge (DLGN-25). The ships made the voyage at the remarkable average speed of 25 knots. From 1964 to 1966, Coyne was operations officer of the Fleet Weather Facility at Quonset Point, Rhode Island. For the next two years he commanded Inshore Undersea Warfare Group TWO with service in Vietnam, and then served as executive officer of the dock landing ship Alamo (LSD-33). In 1970, he became operations and plans officer on the staff of Amphibious Squadron Seven.
When Coyne took command of USS Constitution in 1972, the ship had just begun a major restoration project and was drydocked for much of his command tour. During this period, with Coyne’s help, the private, non-profit USS Constitution Museum Foundation was formed with the goal of creating a museum for the ship. Also during this period, the decision was made to close the Boston Navy Yard and turn a portion of it over to the National Park Service. Coyne acted as the navy’s representative at the many planning and coordination sessions of these organizations. He was instrumental in the creation of Boston National Historical Park, the USS Constitution Museum, and a permanent “maintenance and restoration” group for the ship.
Coyne left Constitution in August 1974 and joined the staff of the First Naval District. There, he was the commandant’s action officer for events involving Constitution, such as the July 1976 visit by Queen Elizabeth II. After retirement on September 1, 1976, he returned to school and earned to two Master’s degrees and certification as a financial planner, which profession became his second career. Coyne died on August 11, 2017 in Pensacola, Florida.