Coast Guard Silver Ancient Mariner Honored

PORTSMOUTH, Va. – The Coast Guard will welcome a new Silver Ancient Mariner during a change of watch ceremony at Coast Guard Training Center Yorktown, Va., 1 p.m. Friday.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.

Master Chief Petty Officer Amritt Villa, former Damage Control Rating Force Master Chief, will be relieved as the Coast Guard Silver Ancient Mariner by Coast Guard Senior Chief Petty Officer Christopher Kukla.

Vice Adm. Robert Papp, Coast Guard Chief of Staff, and Coast Guard Golden Ancient Mariner will preside over the ceremony.

The traditional changing of the ceremonial garb, a replica of a traditional lighthouse keeper’s hat, is passed from the 7th Silver Ancient Mariner to the 8th Silver Ancient Mariner, will mark Villa’s relief by Senior Chief Kukla.

Kukla, a native of Ludlow, Mass., began his career at Coast Guard Training Center (TRACEN) Cape May, N.J., in 1979.

Kukla’s underway assignments include serving onboard the Coast Guard Cutters (CGC) CGC VIGILANT, New Bedford, Mass., 1979-1981, CGC BIBB, New Bedford, Mass., 1981-1984, CGC EVERGREEN, New London, Conn., 1984-1987, CGC ESCANABA, Boston, Mass., 1991-1994, and CGC RUSH, Honolulu, Hawaii.

Kulka’s shore duty assignments include the U.S. Coast Guard Academy, New London, Conn., Training Center Yorktown, Yorktown, Va., Patrol Forces Southwest Asia (PATFORSWA), Manama, Bahrain, and Supervisor, Atlantic Area Armory, New Orleans, La.

The Golden Ancient Mariner, along with the Silver Ancient Mariner, 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 Guardsmen, have the earliest date of qualification for a permanent cutterman’s pin and a minimum of 10 years sea service.

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

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