Cutter Forward commanding officer receives inspirational leadership award

PORTSMOUTH, Va. – Cmdr. Diane Durham, commanding officer of the Coast Guard Cutter Forward (WMEC 911) home ported in Portsmouth, Va., received the Capt. John G. Witherspoon Inspirational Leadership Award Tuesday at Coast Guard Headquarters in Washington, D.C. The award was presented by Vice Adm. David Pekoske, Vice-Commandant of the Coast Guard.

“It was a bit of a shock to learn I’d been selected for this prestigious award,” Durham said. “I didn’t even know I was nominated. There are so many deserving people in the Coast Guard.” Although, the award was presented to her as an individual, she credits her success to her crew. “I am honored to be representing the Forward and a crew that inspires me with their professionalism and dedication.”

Durham was cited for creating “a command climate that fostered success by encouraging her shipmates to be prepared, exceed standards and continually improve counter-drug cooperation between the United States and Panama, a key partner on the war on drugs, was infectious.”

“Cmdr. Durham is an excellent example of someone who leads to develop others. It is evident her primary concern is her crew and she is well deserving of this award,” said Capt. Andrew White, chief of current operations for Coast Guard Atlantic Area. “I have great confidence in her leadership abilities and Atlantic Area is very proud of her and her crew’s accomplishments.

Durham was commissioned in 1989 from Officer Candidate School at U.S. Coast Guard Training Center Yorktown, Va. Her tours afloat include deck watch officer on Cutter Rush (WHEC 723), operations officer aboard Cutter Decisive (WMEC 629) and Cutter Resolute (WMEC 620) and executive officer of Cutter Tampa (WMEC 902). She was the executive assistant to the Commander, Coast Guard Atlantic Area prior to assuming her current position.

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