Steuart Pittman

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Steuart Pittman
Pittman in the 60s
Steuart Lansing Pittman

June 6th, 1919
Albany, New York, USA
DiedFebruary 10th, 2013
Davidsonville, Maryland, USA
CitizenshipUnited States
OccupationLawyer, Head of US Civil Defense
Years activeLaw (1954 - Mid 1980s)
Head of Civil Defense (1961 - 1964)
ChildrenAndrew Pittman, Nancy Pittman Pinchot, Rosamond Pittman Casey, Patricia Pittman, Steuart Jr., Romey Pittman
  • Ernest Pittman (father)
  • Estelle Pittman (mother)

Steuart Lansing Pittman (June 6th, 1919 - February 10th, 2013) was an American lawyer, veteran, and head of US Civil Defense.

Early life[edit]

Born in 1919, Pittman grew up on Manhattan's East Side as his father was a chemical engineer. After graduating high school he was involved in the Pan-American Airlines shipping supplies to China, until he enlisted in the Marine Corps after the attack on Pearl Harbor.

Military service[edit]

Pittman enlisted in the Marine Corps in 1943 after the attack on Pearl Harbor. His service included training and operating with Chinese guerillas in Imperial Japanese territory. Pittman was awarded the Silver Star for valor after a naval battle between Chinese and Japanese junks, 2 days after V-J day. Pittman's forces killed 43 Japanese sailors and took another 39 as prisoner.

Law career[edit]

After the war Pittman received his law degree from Yale in 1948. In 1954 Pittman helped co-found the firm Shaw, Pittman, Potts & Trowbridge. Pittman was apart of the firm until the mid 1980s, excluding the 3 year hiatus he took to serve as head of US civil defense.

Head of Civil Defense[edit]

Pittman was appointed as the head of Civil Defense in 1961 by then president John F. Kennedy. As head of the department Pittman pushed for the construction of fallout shelters throughout the country, though faced considerable pushback from those against the idea. To give 180 million Americans adequate supplies, the department requested a $3B budget from the US congress. This appeal for budget was heavily controversial due to the heavy price tag on the project, which angered taxpayers and lawmakers alike. Pittman called his time as head of Civil Defense as one of the most unappetizing, unappealing and unpopular” jobs ever created. Due to his personal apathy on the position Pittman later resigned and returned to practice law in 1964.

Later life and death[edit]

After vacating the position of head of Civil Defense, Pittman would return to his job of practicing law. Pittman also maintained a tobacco farm in Maryland. He passed away in February of 2013.