Recap of the 36th Annual Salute to the United States Coast Guard
The 36th Annual Salute to the Coast Guard was held on October 6, 2016 in New York City, to honor Coast Guard heroics from around the country. The Coast Guard Cutter Bertholf received the Foundation’s National Award for Heroism with 12 members of the Bertholf representing the crew who were honored for their work interdicting 19 drug-smuggling vessels in some of the most prolific and inherently dangerous counter-drug pursuits in Coast Guard history.
From May 2015 to April 2016, the Bertholf and her detachments completed two deployments to the Eastern Pacific totaling 213 days away from homeport. During these deployments, the team detained 58 suspected narco-traffickers and prevented over 50,700 lbs of narcotics - with a street value of over $806 million - from reaching the United States.
This was a collaborative effort of all the teams embarked working together as one powerful force - we were astonishing,” said BM2 Walker Stippel, who has been part of 25 drug interdictions during his time with the Bertholf. “We were an extraordinary team, from captain to seaman apprentice, we could not have achieved the level of success without the immense amount of hard work required by each and every individual onboard.
The event also honored the Coast Guard Foundation’s President Anne B. Brengle, who is retiring at the end of 2016 after nine years as president of the Foundation. Coast Guard Commandant Adm. Paul Zukunft and Vice Commandant Adm. Charles Michel presented the Coast Guard’s highest civilian honor, the Distinguished Public Service Award, to Brengle for her nine years of dedicated service to the Coast Guard community.
“This is a bittersweet moment,” said Brengle. “I can relate to Coast Guard men and women who retire and feel they’re leaving something that will go on without them. But I feel strongly that I’m leaving the Coast Guard so much richer as a person, thanks to the culture of the Coast Guard itself - you will never meet a more wonderful culture of people than the Coast Guard.”
The event also honored President & CEO of Bouchard Transportation Co., Inc. Morton S. Bouchard III for the shipbuilding company’s support of the Coast Guard Foundation over the last 30 years.
Morton S. Bouchard, III has been a leader in supporting the Coast Guard Foundation’s mission and policies for more than two decades. Serving as a Trustee for the Coast Guard Foundation from 1998 to 2013, Bouchard’s support and leadership has been critical for expansion of the Foundation’s education, morale and relief programs.
NBC New York investigative reporter Chris Glorioso served as the event’s MC with the evening’s keynote address from Commandant of the Coast Guard Admiral Paul Zukunft.
The event fell one day before Hurricane Matthew made landfall on the south east Florida coast with the Commandant immediately flying back to Washington D.C. after the event to oversee the Coast Guard’s response to the incoming storm.
“Today there are literally thousands of Coast Guard men and women on the hangar decks, at sea, or ready to launch from all locations so that we will be, as always, Semper Paratus,” said Adm. Zukunft. “But we’re mindful of the fact that the rescuers have no rescuer, but as we’ve seen tonight, the Coast Guard Foundation has been our rescuer time and time again.”