Post written by Ademide Adedokun
Coast Guard Commandant ADM Bob Papp honored two members of Congress in a ceremony held in the United States Capitol Building on Dec. 1. Senator Frank Lautenberg and Representative Elijah Cummings were both presented the Commodore Ellsworth P. Bertholf award for their support of the United States Coast Guard.
The Award is presented those Members of Congress who exemplify the spirit of Commodore Bertholf by making substantial contributions in support of the men and women of the United States Coast Guard and enhance the ability of the Service to carry out its missions.
Senator Frank Lautenberg is the only member of Congress to serve on both the Coast Guard Authorizing and Appropriation subcommittees. Senator Lautenberg hails from New Jersey, the home of Coast Guard Training Center Cape May and the Port of New York and New Jersey, the second-largest port in the United States.
While presenting him with the award, Admiral Papp gave special attention to Senator Lautenberg’s introduction of legislation that criminalized the operation of self-propelled semi-submersible (SPSS) vessels. Describing it as a “game-changer,” he spoke of how the legislation drastically reduced the number of attempts to bring drugs into the United States with SPSS vessels.
During the ceremony, Admiral Papp explained his use of the term “Shipmates” as a term of endearment for members of the Coast Guard and their extended family. He then bestowed the title of “Shipmates” on Senator Lautenberg and Representative Cummings for their support of the Coast Guard.
“It’s not lost on me that it’s the noble efforts of our Congress that ensure we get the basic support for our Coast Guard men and women who perform our challenging maritime missions – the type of support that is the embodiment of what it means to be Shipmates,” said Papp.
Representative Elijah Cummings represents the 7th Congressional District of Maryland. As Chairman of the House Transportation and Infrastructure Subcommittee on Coast Guard and Maritime Transportation, he co-sponsored a resolution recognizing the loss of flight crews aboard CG-1705 and a Marine Corps helicopter following a tragic mid-air collision. Rep. Cummings also supported a resolution recognizing the centennial of the Coast Guard Academy.
“One of Rep. Cummings signature achievements for our Service has been his collaboration on our efforts to increase diversity. He helped fuel a three-fold increase in our College Student Pre-Commissioning Initiative (CSPI), encouraged the development of the Coast Guard’s capstone Diversity Strategic Plan, and spurred the Coast Guard Academy on to recruit an increasingly diverse pool of cadets,” said Papp.
Admiral Papp concluded by expressing his appreciation for all the Members of Congress who ensure continual Congressional support for the Coast Guard.