Longboat Key, FL, and Castine, ME
- Colonel Alfred William Bagot, US Army, Retired, passed away on Sunday, Dec. 18, 2016, at home in Castine surrounded by his family. He was 95 years old.
Al was born on Feb. 15, 1921, in Saint Louis, MO, to Alfred Jason and Anne Sheen Bagot and graduated from Chaminade College Preparatory School in Saint Louis and the University of Dayton where he was in the ROTC program. He had hoped to become a surgeon someday and often laughed as he explained that the Army had different plans for him. He went on to have a distinguished career in Human Intelligence and Counterintelligence assignments and served as the first Military Intelligence Advisor to Saudi Arabia. He commanded all four MI Groups: the 902nd, 149th, 500th, and the Field Activities Command.
He was assigned to the Pacific theater during World War II and since he had an aptitude for languages he made a transition from the 4.2 Mortar Battalion, 24th Infantry Division during the war to the 441st Counter Intelligence Corps Training School in Tokyo. He served with the 1st CIC in Fukuoka and Kyoto following the war. He was fluent in Japanese as well as German.
In 1948 Al returned back to the U.S. and continued work in the field of military intelligence at Fort Holabird in Maryland. By 1950 he was promoted to a Military Occupational Specialist. At this time he married his wife Helen Nickerson. He worked his way up the ranks including a stint in Heidelberg, Germany, in 1962 working in the office of Deputy Chief of Staff for Intelligence. He and Helen had a lively household of four children during these years. He eventually returned to the Pentagon and to the Office of the Assistant Chief of Staff for Intelligence (ACSI) where he was promoted to the rank of Colonel.
Al's career took another turn as he went to Vietnam in 1967 as the Commanding Officer of the 149th MI Group. He did one and a half tours in Vietnam. Later the ACSI assigned him to a task force to organize the US Field Activities Command. He remained with this unit until 1970 when he became Commander, 500th MI Group in Hawaii. By 1972 Al returned to the Office of the ACSI as Chief, Operations Division followed in 1973 as Executive Officer to the ACSI. In June, 1974, he retired from the Army and moved to Castine to live in Helen's family home. In recognition of his significant achievements, in 1988 Al was inducted into the Military Intelligence Hall of Fame. He remained modest about his career but another pinnacle moment was the honor of participating in the laying of the wreath at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier in 2006 at Arlington.
A "second career" in Castine at Maine Maritime Academy started for Al in 1974 where he started as Executive Assistant to the Superintendent & Personnel Officer and had the rank of Lieutenant Commander. He was promoted three times concluding his time as Acting Superintendent by order of the Trustees. He was an Admiral within the MMA ranks and officially retired in 1987. He was an anchor of the Faculty Club during its years of many social events. He was active in the Navy League as well. He returned often to MMA in subsequent years, popping into offices to visit those he had come to know and enjoy. He did this all over town too. He always had a wise-crack or a compliment or both and made his light-hearted presence a happy occasion everywhere he went.
The communities of his summer home and winter home would not be the same without Al and his incredible social skills, leadership finesse, and genuine care for people in his community and afar. A man of devout faith his entire life, Al was very involved in the activities of his two churches, St. Mary Star of the Sea in Longboat Key and Our Lady of Holy Hope in Castine.
His other areas of volunteer work included heading up the elm tree conservation effort at its inception during the scourge of Dutch Elm disease. His aggressive interventions early on are credited as having saved Castine's legendary elm canopy that still stands today. He was a dignified and dashing leader of Castine's Memorial Day ceremonies in his highly decorated uniform. In winter time Al was busy with the Kiwanis Club of LBK in their fundraising and civic activities. He was an early and active member of the Castine Golf Club, and enjoyed the Castine Men's Club as well.
Al will be remembered for his fierce love of family, a genuine kindness that radiated from him, and that indefatigable sharp wit that could catch people off guard most of the time. After the death of Helen, Al married close family friend and widow, Jane Switzer Nichols of Castine and they enjoyed a decade of love and laughter together. Besides Jane and her children Lars Rost (Shelley) and Lisa Haugen (Patrick), Al is survived by his children William Bagot (Kathy) of Springfield, VA, and their children Brian, Emily, Allison and Christopher as well as his son Thomas Bagot (Julie) of Palm Harbor, FL. Al also leaves grandchildren Jared Churchill (Lauren) and Laura Williams (Chris) and three great grandchildren all of Richmond, VA, as well as a sister-in-law Karen Bagot of St Louis and her family.
He was predeceased by his wife of 54 years, Helen and two children, Michael and Anne as well as his brother William.
A memorial mass at Our Lady of Holy Hope in Castine followed by burial with military honors is planned for 11 a.m., June 17, 2017. In appreciation for all the tender care Al received in his final days a donation to your local hospice organization would be a wonderful gesture.
Arrangements by Mitchell-Tweedie Funeral Home in Bucksport, ME.