Coast Guard to welcome new Silver Ancient Mariner

PORTSMOUTH, Va. – The Coast Guard will welcome a new Silver Ancient Mariner during a change of watch ceremony at 1 p.m. Friday at Coast Guard Training Center Yorktown, Va. The Silver Ancient Mariner Award, established in 1978, honors active duty enlisted personnel who personify the dedication and professionalism associated with long service at sea and who have held the distinction of Cutterman longer than any other enlisted personnel have.

Senior Chief Petty Officer Christopher Kukla will be relieved as the Coast Guard Silver Ancient Mariner by Master Chief Richard Vobornik.

Vice Adm. Robert Papp, Jr., Commander, Atlantic Area, and the Coast Guard Gold Ancient Mariner will preside over the ceremony.

The traditional transfer of the ceremonial garb, a replica of a traditional lighthouse keeper’s hat, passed from the 8th Silver Ancient Mariner to the 9th Silver Ancient Mariner, will mark Kukla’s relief by Master Chief Vobornik.

Vobornik, a native of Ladysmith, Wis., began his career at then Coast Guard Training Center TRACEN Alameda, Calif., in 1980.

Vobornik’s underway assignments include serving onboard the Coast Guard Cutters Mackinaw, Durable, Cape Jellison, Steadfast, Mobile Bay, Munro and Polar Star.

His shore duty assignments include the then Coast Guard Reserve Training Center Yorktown and the Coast Guard Training Center Yorktown.

The Coast Guard Gold Ancient and Silver Ancient Mariners are charged with keeping a close watch to ensure that sea-service traditions are continued and that the time-honored reputation of the Coast Guard is maintained.

The Silver Ancient Mariner must be an active duty Coast Guardsman, have the earliest date of qualification for a permanent cutterman’s pin and a minimum of 10 years sea service.

Kukla will retire from the Coast Guard during the same ceremony after faithfully serving the Coast Guard for 30 years.

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