Shipmate of the Week – Master Chief Lloyd Pierce

Master Chief Petty Officer Lloyd Pierce, command master chief at the Coast Guard Academy, speaks after becoming the Coast Guard's Silver Ancient Mariner. U.S. Coast Guard photo by Petty Officer 2nd Class Patrick Kelley.

Master Chief Petty Officer Lloyd Pierce, command master chief at the Coast Guard Academy, speaks after becoming the Coast Guard's Silver Ancient Mariner. U.S. Coast Guard photo by Petty Officer 2nd Class Patrick Kelley.

The lore of being at sea has inspired generations of sailors since the very foundation of our country. Life aboard a ship has a heritage that is rife with ritual and is the source of inspiration for every sailor’s favorite – the sea story. But perhaps what serves as an inspiration for those at sea is not necessarily the folklore that surrounds their way of life but the leaders who were there for them along the way. One of these leaders is Master Chief Petty Officer Lloyd Pierce.

Throughout his career, Pierce has led Coast Guardsmen in countless leadership positions. He has served as an executive petty officer, company commander, battalion commander, officer-in-charge and command master chief. More stunning is the time Pierce has spent at sea – 14 years, 11 months and five days to be exact. Or as Pierce himself would say, “I call it 15 years – but that’s my math.”

With all of these days at sea it comes as no surprise that Pierce is the Coast Guard’s 11th, and newest, Silver Ancient Mariner. The Silver Ancient Mariner has the distinction of being called a “cutterman” longer than any other active duty enlisted member.

Coast Guard Commandant Adm. Bob Papp presides over a ceremony during which Master Chief Petty Officer Steven Hearn is relieved of duties as the Coast Guard's Silver Ancient Mariner by Master Chief Petty Officer Lloyd Pierce, command master chief at the Coast Guard Academy. U.S. Coast Guard photo by Petty Officer 2nd Class Patrick Kelley.

Coast Guard Commandant Adm. Bob Papp presides over a ceremony during which Master Chief Petty Officer Steven Hearn is relieved of duties as the Coast Guard's Silver Ancient Mariner by Master Chief Petty Officer Lloyd Pierce, command master chief at the Coast Guard Academy. U.S. Coast Guard photo by Petty Officer 2nd Class Patrick Kelley.

“I can cite shipmates, lessons and milestones from each of my assignments that pushed me ahead to where I am. Every job has given me some knowledge or wisdom that I find myself using in my personal and professional life daily,” said Pierce. “That’s true from mess cooking and humping chain on a buoy deck, to standing 36 hours straight watch on a bridge, to teaching cuttermen to be cuttermen, to hanging on for dear life in the Bering Sea, to teaching recruits and company commanders, to commanding my own ship, to advising senior leaders and helping shipmates solve problems.”

When asked what his proudest operational achievement was, Pierce recalled a moment when he was an officer-in-charge and circumstances put his crew in a position to get underway without him. Staying true to his dedication to others, Pierce’s most fulfilling accomplishment was all about his crew.

“I got to watch them sail over the horizon and return after conducting a very successful patrol,” recalls Pierce. “I took personal satisfaction in knowing that I’d done my job preparing them to sail and conduct any mission under adverse conditions – with or without me. Watching that ship sail out was like watching a child excel and succeed. It stands as my proudest moment.”

The Silver Ancient Mariner has the distinction of being called a “cutterman” longer than any other active duty enlisted member.

The Silver Ancient Mariner has the distinction of being called a “cutterman” longer than any other active duty enlisted member.

Taking on the role of Silver Ancient Mariner is largely symbolic, but as command master chief of the U.S. Coast Guard Academy, Pierce aims to share his wealth of knowledge with future leaders of the service.

“Above the door of Henriques Room is the cadet mission statement that starts out, ‘To graduate young men and women with sound bodies, stout hearts and alert minds, with a liking for the sea and it’s lore.’ That sentence is a good foundation for a mission statement for the Ancient Mariner,” said Pierce. “At the Academy, I’m trying to make myself available and to ‘walk the decks’ as much as possible. I share what I have and listen to what sailors passing through here report on current conditions and issues on our cutters.”

As the 13th Gold Ancient Mariner, Coast Guard Commandant Adm. Bob Adm. Bob Papp presided over last week’s Silver Ancient Mariner ceremony and shared the important role tradition plays in our service’s future.

“We cannot know what duties we will be called upon to perform, what challenging maritime missions our nation will ask us to undertake or even what fate will hold. But, we do know one thing – ensuring our Coast Guard men and women are fluent in our history and traditions will positively influence, inform and impact how we perform our duties,” said Papp.

After Pierce was handed the keeper’s cap and long glass, both symbols of the ancient mariner, Papp passed on his final words of wisdom to the newest ancient mariner.

“It will now be your duty to keep watch over our professionalism and leadership associated with long sea service,” said Papp. “I know you will keep our lamp of tradition burning brightly, and as the Gold Ancient Mariner, I am honored to share this duty with you.”

Times have changed since men and women first begin sailing the high seas. But with change, there remains a constant. For the service’s newest Silver Ancient Mariner, this constant is sharing his legacy, and the legacy of those before him, as only a man who has been to sea for 15 years can.

“I’m always ready to tell a sea story and I can talk all day about my love for the sea and it’s lore; especially my love for going to sea on a Coast Guard cutter!” said Pierce.

Do you know a Shipmate that has done something great for the service, the missions or the public? Please submit your nominations using the “Submit Ideas” link on the right.

A few of the "ancients" after the ceremony. From left to right: Enlisted Ancient Albatross, Senior Chief Petty Officer Peter MacDougall; 10th Silver Ancient Mariner, Master Chief Petty Officer Steven Hearn; 11th Silver Ancient Mariner, Master Chief Petty Officer Lloyd Pierce; and 13th Gold Ancient Mariner, Coast Guard Commandant Adm. Bob Papp. U.S. Coast Guard photo by Petty Officer 2nd Class Patrick Kelley.

A few of the "ancients" after the ceremony. From left to right: Enlisted Ancient Albatross, Senior Chief Petty Officer Peter MacDougall; 10th Silver Ancient Mariner, Master Chief Petty Officer Steven Hearn; 11th Silver Ancient Mariner, Master Chief Petty Officer Lloyd Pierce; and 13th Gold Ancient Mariner, Coast Guard Commandant Adm. Bob Papp. U.S. Coast Guard photo by Petty Officer 2nd Class Patrick Kelley.

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6 Responses

  1. RADM Mary Landry says:

    Best wishes to Master Chief Pierce!! He is a perfect ambassador for this historic and esteemed position and the responsibilities that go with it. With warmest regards and respect, RADM Mary Landry

  2. CPO Collazo says:

    Congrats QMCM Pierce, it’s been a while since I’ve seen my old OIC from the USCGC Mako 87303. It’s an honor to say that I have sailed and comissioned a cutter with the 11th Ancient Silver Mariner. Respectfully your ISC Ian Collazo “Rudy”.

  3. ISC Collazo says:

    Congrats QMCM Pierce, it’s been a while since I’ve seen my old OIC from the USCGC Mako 87303. It’s an honor to say that I have sailed and comissioned a cutter with the 11th Ancient Silver Mariner. Respectfully your ISC Ian Collazo “Rudy

  4. Skip Bowen says:

    Congratulations Lloyd! I can think of no finer person to represent the enlisted cutter community than you. I fondly remember the very early days of CGC’s HAMMERHEAD and MAKO when you and I were privileged to command the 2nd and 3rd 87 CPBs…. It seems like yesterday, but somehow the years have slipped by. Fast forward to the present and it is an exciting time in the cutter community as we look forward to the delivery of an entire fleet of National Security Cutters, Fast Response Cutters and eventually Offshore Patrol Cutters. You will help guide the early stages of what I believe will be the most capable fleet the Coast Guard ever sailed.
    Please accept my very best wishes as you stand the Silver Ancient Mariner watch.
    Skip Bowen
    MCPOCG (ret)

  5. MKC Simeon H. Rust says:

    Congratulations Master Chief! On behalf of the crew of the mighty STATEN ISLAND (WPB 1345)
    MKC Simeon H. Rust, EPO

  6. BMCS Seth Tomas says:

    Congrats Master Chief! It was a true honor being your XPO on the mighty SEAHAWK! W had some great times and I couldn’t imagine a better Ancient Mariner than you!