Gold Ancient Mariner Assumes Command of Coast Guard Atlantic Area

PORTSMOUTH, Va. (D5 Public Affairs) – The U.S. Coast Guard’s longest qualified cutterman, known as the “Gold Ancient Mariner,” assumed command of the Coast Guard’s Atlantic Area here today, taking responsibility for oversight of all Coast Guard operations from the Rocky Mountains to the Arabian Gulf.

Vice Adm. Robert J. Papp, Jr., a native of Norwich, Conn., will oversee the Atlantic Area’s more than 51,000 military, civilian and Auxiliary Coast Guard personnel. Papp relieved Vice Adm. D. Brian Peterman, who retired from almost 36 years of distinguished military service.

“This is a great Coast Guard day,” said Papp, laughing as grey skies began pouring rain only minutes after he took command. “But I’m thrilled to be here and consider this a great honor.” Almost 500 dignitaries and guests attended the time-honored military ceremony at the Coast Guard’s Integrated Support Command.

During the ceremony, Papp made clear that obtaining the needed resources for the men and women of the Atlantic Area to effectively accomplish all Coast Guard missions would be one of his top priorities.

“We have the honor and priviledge of performing meaningful work that is essential to the long term safety and security of our country,” said Papp. “All Coast Guard missions are important, and we must give them the attention they deserve, but I will never ask you to do more than our resources allow, but to do your absolute best with what we have.”

Papp also assumed concurrent command of U.S. Coast Guard Defense Force East, where he will provide mission support, planning, preparedness and conduct maritime homeland defense mission in support of the Department of Defense and Combatant Commanders.

A 1975 graduate of the U.S. Coast Guard Academy, Papp holds a Master of Arts in National Security and Strategic Studies from the United States Naval War College, and a Master of Science in Management from Salve Regina College. He spent the last two years in Washington, D.C., as the Chief of Staff of the Coast Guard. From 2004 to 2006 Papp served as Commander, Ninth Coast Guard District, with responsibilities for Coast Guard missions on the Great Lakes and northern border. He’s also served on six Coast Guard cutters and commanded the cutters Red Beech, Papaw, Forward, and the Coast Guard’s training barque, Eagle. He has also served as commander of a task unit enforcing United Nations sanctions during Operation Able Manner off the coast of Haiti in 1994.

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