Born 11 June 1864 at Hannibal, Mo., Robert Edward Coontz was graduated from the Naval Academy 5 June 1885. He served both at sea and ashore, including duty at the Naval Academy, in the Bureau of Navigation and as Governor of Guam. From 11 June 1916 to 31 August 1918 he served as Commandant, Puget Sound Navy Yard, earning the Distinguished Service Medal for his contributions to the war effort. He served as the second Chief of Naval Operations from 27 October 1919 to 9 July 1923, then became Commander-in -Chief, U.S. Fleet. From 26 August 1925 he served as Commandant Fifth Naval District until placed on the retired list 11 June 1928. From 21 July to 19 September 1930 he was on temporary active duty to accompany a Senate Committee on claims duty in Alaska. Admiral Coontz died 26 January 1935.
Coontz (DLG-9) was launched 6 December 1958 by Puget Sound Naval Shipyard, sponsored by Mrs. Robert J. Coontz, and commissioned 15 July 1960, Commander H. H. Ries in command.
For the remainder of 1960, Coontz engaged in tests and training off the coast of southern California.