Boating Safety Is For Life

Monday, January 7, 2013

Some Personal Comments Re The Coast Guard

Recently the Commandant of the Coast Guard, Admiral Papp, gave a speach in which he outline his vision for the Coast Guard.

6 things Coast Guardsmen need to know for 2013

From new cutters to Arctic challenges, 6 things to know for the coming year
In particular he made some comments about differentiating ourselves from the Navy.

Papp said another one of his top priorities for 2013 is to reinforce that the identity of a Coast Guardsman is distinctly different from a sailor.
“We don’t want to be another Navy, and that’s part of our character as well,” Papp said at a Navy League breakfast Dec. 6 in Arlington.
Papp also wants his troops to be called “Coast Guardsmen” instead of other past nicknames such as Hooligans, Guardians, Lifesavers and Coasties.
It’s unclear what specific ideas Papp may have to correct the identity problem, or drop the numerous nicknames. It’s guaranteed to remain a talking point of his, however.
“We are proud to be Coast Guardsmen, and that’s a particular culture,” he said. “It’s something that I’m trying to emphasize. It seems like we’ve really struggled for identity over the years back and forth. What I believe is that all the missions we do make us Coast Guardsmen
 I disagree:

On a professional level, yes we should be called Coast Guardsmen.  However, on an informal level I don't mind being called a Coastie, but  I do object to some of the other nicknames we have had over the years, they are just plain insulting. 

Yes, the Coast Guard culture is distinctly different than the Navy.  Yes we are proud of that and always have been, but to try to differentiate the term sailor is going too far.  People who man ships and boats and go to sea are sailors no matter what their occupation is. I have always considered myself a sailor,  and I (of course) think Coast Guardsmen are better sailors.  That term does not apply only to the Navy.

Lt Peter D. Eikenberry, LT USCG (Retired)

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