A version of this story originally appeared at Coast Guard Alaska and was written by Lt. j.g. Jacob Hauser.
Chief Warrant Officer James Bride has spent his life at sea, making his way along the Alaskan coast, around the Pacific Rim and throughout the Atlantic basin. He has made moorings and anchorages from South America to the Arctic and from Tokyo to San Juan.
That’s a lot of port calls and a lot of years. 20 years of sea duty to be exact.
Last month, Bride – stationed aboard Coast Guard Cutter Munro – became the 34th master cutterman in the history of the Coast Guard after completing 20 years of sea duty. As a master cutterman, Bride stands at the forefront of a long and proud maritime heritage and represents absolute proficiency in his chosen profession.
“I was born on the crest of a wave and rocked in the cradle of the deep,” said Bride. “I also come from a family of sailors. My father and grandfather were both in the Navy.”
Bride, who hails from Nashville joined the Coast Guard in May 1988 and became a quartermaster in June 1989.
Today, as the senior boatswain’s mate aboard Munro, Bride is responsible for the leadership and readiness of his cutter’s 38-member deck force.
Capt. Mark A. Cawthorn, commanding officer of the Kodiak-based cutter, ushered Bride into the ranks of the service’s most revered corps of cuttermen. In a message of congratulations forwarded to the commanding officers of Bride’s previous afloat units, staffs of the Coast Guard’s Pacific and Atlantic area commands and the commandant, Cawthorn had this to say about Bride and his accession to the title of master cutterman:
This was the first time in my career that I had the honor to present such a prestigious award. He was presented with a master cutterman certificate with a challenge coin from each ship he has sailed on, along with congratulatory letters and coins from Master Chief Petty Officer of the Coast Guard Michael Leavitt and Commandant Adm. Robert Papp. I am honored to call him shipmate, and I have more than a few sea stories of my own, in which he plays a central role.
Long-since eligible to retire to the comforts of life ashore, Bride recently accepted orders to remain afloat, reporting this June to the ice breaker Polar Star.
“I really like going to sea, and I’m going to do it until the Coast Guard tells me I can’t,” said Bride.