Moments ago, Admiral Robert J. Papp assumed command of the United States Coast Guard in a change of command ceremony teeming with naval tradition. Upon relieving Admiral Thad Allen of his command, the new commandant wasted no time in sharing his vision of the Coast Guard’s future through a video message to the men and women of the service.
“We will set a course that: Steadies the Service, Honors our Profession, Strengthens our Partnerships, and Respects our Shipmates.”
Admiral Papp’s promise to steady the service comes at a time of great uncertainty for many throughout the Coast Guard. His reputation as a man who both demands nothing short of the very best from and equally looks out for his shipmates is well-known.
“We have the honor and privilege of performing meaningful work that is essential to the long term safety and security of our country. I know you are capable of heroic and extraordinary deeds, but I will not ask you to do more than our resources allow. At the same time, we must do our absolute best with what we have to sustain mission excellence. We owe it to our country and our Shipmates. I expect nothing better. You should accept nothing less.”
Papp proudly holds the distinction of being the fleet’s Gold Ancient Mariner as the services longest serving cutterman in the officer ranks. This ceremonial title may not mean much to those outside the service, but it provides those under Papp’s command with a sense of confidence that their leader is in fact a man whose desk may be in Washington, D.C. but whose heart is underway with the men and women who go out and perform the Coast Guard’s missions everyday.
“Over the last two years I figuratively, and literally, made a round of the ship by visiting and talking with thousands of shipmates, and I listened to them. I have heard loud and clear that you remain committed to mission excellence, but you need the resources – the ships, aircraft, boats, communications systems & shore infrastructure, to keep up with increasingly challenging missions in the unforgiving maritime environment.”
A 1975 graduate of the United States Coast Guard Academy, Papp has commanded four of the six cutters upon which he has served – Red Beech, Papaw, Forward, and the training barque Eagle. He served as the commander of a task unit during Operation Able Manner augmented U.S. Navy forces during Operation Uphold Democracy off the coast of Haiti in 1994. As a flag officer, Admiral Papp most recently served as Atlantic Area Commander following on tours as Chief of Staff, Ninth District Commander, and Director of Reserve and Training.
Click here to visit the new Senior Leadership page to learn more about Admiral Papp and his leadership team.