Each year, the holiday season brings an opportunity to reflect on the year that has passed and to look forward to the promise of the future. During this, my last holiday season as Commandant, Linda and I feel particularly blessed to be a part of this Service, that has enriched our lives for so long.
As I look back on the previous year, we have faced many challenges. Budgetary uncertainty and spending cuts have required difficult decisions on how best to prioritize essential missions and functions. A government shutdown left valued members of our family home on furlough and forced us to curtail many of the missions that define our service. Yet, through it all, I continued to see our people exemplify those traits that define us all – active, reserve, civilian and auxiliary – as Coast Guardsmen … our Core Values, our respect and caring for our shipmates and our families and the eternal optimism and selfless commitment to duty that comes from knowing we are serving a truly worthwhile purpose.
While we faced some challenges, we celebrated far more success. Our operations continued to provide safe and secure approaches to our ports and helped sustain the prosperity and freedom we all enjoy. We commissioned new cutters that are truly worthy of the men and women who will sail in them. Our headquarters moved to a beautiful new facility named for one of our greatest heroes, Signalman First Class Douglas A. Munro. And, we responded to every call of distress with the lifesaver spirit that has made us the world’s best Coast Guard for well over two centuries.
Many of us are fortunate to be with family and loved ones to celebrate this holiday season. Others will be far from home, standing ready for the call. Whether you will spend the holidays with family, friends or in the company of shipmates, I hope you will enjoy your time together. Every day, we are inspired and humbled by your selfless service.
We send our warmest wishes for a happy holiday season and a happy New Year.
Admiral Bob and Linda Papp