Lt. Robert Henry Prause, Jr. was born June 22, 1915 in Charleston, South Carolina. At a young age, he and his family moved to Norfolk, Virginia and spent his formative years there. After graduating from Matthew Fontaine Maury High School, he received a scholarship to the Norfolk Division of William & Mary College, now called Old Dominion University, and went on to study engineering.
After only a year in school, Robert decided to apply to the Coast Guard Academy in 1935 and was accepted. He graduated in 1939 and was placed aboard the cutter MODOC in Wilmington, North Carolina. A few years later, he was serving aboard the cutter ESCANABA, safeguarding troops and cargo vessels during some of the worst conditions in World War II.
In June 1943, Prause, aboard the ESCANABA, was escorting a convoy to Newfoundland when his ship mysteriously exploded. In a very short period of time, the cutter sank, killing 100 crewmen. Lt. Prause was rescued from the icy waters but could not be revived. He was buried at sea with full military honors. The Virginia War Memorial honors Lt. Prause and the other men and women who gave their lives for our freedom.
ESCANABA – 1935