Shipmate of the Week – AUX George White
Posted by LT Stephanie Young, Friday, March 7, 2014
The only square-rigger in U.S. government service, Coast Guard Cutter Eagle has offered generations of Coast Guard Academy cadets an unparalleled leadership experience at sea. For nearly two decades, Auxiliarist George White has been part of that leadership experience.
White, a member of the all-volunteer Coast Guard Auxiliary, served as a mentor to cadets aboard the sail-training vessel and was recently presented the Coast Guard Distinguished Public Service Award in recognition of his outstanding service. Giving generously of his time and personal resources, White was an inspiration to many as they learned the ropes – and lines – aboard Eagle.
“A true Shipmate in every sense of the word, Auxiliarist George White’s sustained efforts over the past two decades have raised the prominence of the Coast Guard Academy and broadened the leadership development of hundreds of cadets,” said Coast Guard Commandant Adm. Bob Papp. “He is richly deserving of this award and I’m very proud to have had the honor to present it to him.”
In 1994, White was among the first Auxiliary members to qualify as quartermaster-of-the-watch aboard the tall ship. Eagle was built during the twilight era of sail and its design and construction embody centuries of development in the shipbuilder’s art. The training and education aboard Eagle echo that rare art and it is due to the knowledge of the permanent crew and volunteers like White that the ship’s value as a training platform can truly shine.
“Coast Guard Auxiliary Members like Mr. White have been a tremendous asset in the training program aboard Eagle. They qualify as quartermasters, stand the watch and help teach cadets about life at sea while also introducing them to the value of the Coast Guard Auxiliary,” said Capt. Wes Pulver, current commanding officer of Eagle. “Mr. White was the driver behind the program aboard Eagle, and his dedication and commitment have helped make it a success since 1994.”
“Mr. White not only sailed with us, but also aided families as they moved to the local area and provided a helping hand across the board. I am proud to call him a shipmate,” added Pulver.
In addition to his position as quartermaster, White actively supported and coordinated highly successful international engagements for Eagle in the past years, including the ship’s voyages to St. Petersburg, Russia, in 1996, Cassis, France, in 2009, and Hamburg, Germany, in 2011 to celebrate Eagle’s 75th anniversary.
For close to 20 years White inspired a new generation of Coast Guard officers and provided dedicated leadership toward the development of Coast Guard Academy cadets. But while White focused on the character and development of cadets as some of them experienced their first moments at sea, he also enriched the lives of cadets in other unexpected ways.
White was instrumental in the formulation of an agreement between the Coast Guard Academy and Lyme Academy College of Fine Arts that established a drawing course specifically designed for cadets and taught by the Lyme Academy faculty. White raised funds to pay for the course requiring cadets to pay only for drawing materials.
Knowing the tremendous value of learning outside the classroom – just like life aboard Eagle – White also initiated a scholarship that provided an all expenses paid, week-long course in Florence, Italy, where cadets studied Italian Renaissance drawing methods at the Florence Academy of Art. Over a five-year period, 16 cadets were awarded the scholarship. The cadets completed the curriculum while visiting world-renowned museums and churches, gaining a greater appreciation for the arts and culture.
It was White’s inspiration, vision and personal contacts in Venice and Florence that launched the Cadet Glee Club’s cultural tour of Italy. Furthermore, as a member of the Board of the Metropolitan Opera Guild, White made opera production tickets available and generously provided venues for end of summer celebrations and holiday dinner dances for cadets.
“His generous donations afforded our cadets to perform in high profile venues like the Palace of Amerigo Vespucci, Palazzo Corsini in Florence and the Italian Naval Academy,” wrote Rear Adm. Sandra Stosz, superintendent of the U.S. Coast Guard Academy, in a citation for White’s Superintendent’s Award for Excellence.
His selfless service has impacted future Coast Guard leaders by providing meaningful experiences outside of the classroom – whether teaching the ways of seamanship aboard a tall ship or learning to appreciate celebrated works of art and culture abroad.