Edward Hanson “Iceberg” Smith was a United States Coast Guard admiral, oceanographer, and Arctic explorer. He was born 29 October 1889 at Vineyard Haven, Massachusetts. He received a Ph.D. in oceanography from Harvard, and commanded the USCGC Marion and the USCGC Northland. Most famously, he commanded the Greenland Patrol, and led Coast Guard efforts to defend Greenland against the Germans in World War II. After retirement from the Coast Guard, he assumed the directorship of Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution.
Smith attended high schools at Vineyard Haven and New Bedford, Massachusetts. After attending one year at Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Smith was appointed a cadet at the Revenue Cutter Service School of Instruction on 8 May 1910 and after graduation was commissioned as a third lieutenant 7 June 1913. One of his classmates was Coast Guard aviation pioneer Elmer F. Stone. Smith’s first assignment was aboard USRC Seminole home-ported at Wilmington, North Carolina where he served as the cutter junior engineering officer. In February 1915 he was transferred to USCGC Acushnet and USCGC Apache before be returning to USCGC Seminole.[Note 1] He remained assigned there until 4 August 1917 when he was transferred to USCGC Manning which escorted troop and supply convoys to Europe during World War I. During his tour of duty aboard Manning, Smith was promoted to second lieutenant on 7 June 1918. After short tours aboard USCGC Tallapoosa and USS Antigone from January to November 1919, Smith was assigned to USCGC Seneca, which was one of two cutters assigned annually to the International Ice Patrol.