Frederick Billard was born on September 22, 1873, in Washington, D.C. He was appointed a cadet in the U.S. Revenue Cutter Service on January 11, 1894, and was commissioned a 3rd LT on April 27, 1896. During the Spanish-American War, LT Billard served aboard the USRC Thomas Corwin in the Pacific Ocean, and later served as navigator and instructor aboard the USRC Chase from 1900 to 1905. His next assignment was as aide to the Chief of the Revenue Cutter Service from 1906 to 1911. He transferred to the U.S. Coast Guard when the U.S. Revenue Cutter Service and U.S. Lifesaving Service merged in January 1915. CAPT Billard commanded the escort USS Aphrodite (SP-135) during World War I, and returned to the U.S. to become aide to the Commandant of the U.S. Coast Guard in May 1919. He became Superintendent of the U.S. Coast Guard Academy at New London, Connecticut, in 1921, and served in this position until becoming Commandant of the U.S. Coast Guard on January 11, 1924. ADM Billard served three consecutive tours as Commandant, and became the only Commandant of the Coast Guard to die in office on May 17, 1932. He was buried at Arlington National Cemetery.
His Navy Cross Citation reads:
The President of the United States of America takes pleasure in presenting the Navy Cross to Captain Frederick C. Billard, United States Coast Guard, for distinguished service in the line of his profession as Commanding Officer of the U.S.S. APHRODITE , engaged in the important, exacting and hazardous duty of transporting and escorting troops and supplies through waters infested with enemy submarines and mines, during World War I.