A voice for cuttermen

.S. Coast Guard Academy cadets perform a regimental review in honor of Master Chief Petty Officer Lloyd Pierce, the Command Master Chief at the Academy, April 25, 2014. U.S. Coast Guard photo by Petty Officer 3rd Class Richard Brahm.

.S. Coast Guard Academy cadets perform a regimental review in honor of Master Chief Petty Officer Lloyd Pierce, the Command Master Chief at the Academy, April 25, 2014. U.S. Coast Guard photo by Petty Officer 3rd Class Richard Brahm.

Written by David M. Santos, communications director, U.S. Coast Guard Academy.

As Master Chief Petty Officer Lloyd Pierce prepared to pass down the station keeper’s hat and long glass of the Silver Ancient Mariner, his 30-plus year career passed into history. But the impact of his efforts to honor the profession of cuttermen remained.

Master Chief Petty Officer Lloyd Pierce passes on the Silver Ancient Mariner title to Master Chief Petty Officer Steven Cantrell. U.S. Coast Guard photo by Petty Officer 2nd Class Patrick Kelley.

Master Chief Petty Officer Lloyd Pierce passes on the Silver Ancient Mariner title to Master Chief Petty Officer Steven Cantrell. U.S. Coast Guard photo by Petty Officer 2nd Class Patrick Kelley.

Pierce graduated from boot camp at Cape May, N.J. in March 26, 1982, and received the Silver Ancient Mariner designation nearly 30 years later on Aug. 19, 2011.

The ancient mariner titles – gold for officers, silver for enlisted members – were established in 1978 to recognize service members with the earliest designation as a permanent cutterman. As the 11th Silver Ancient Mariner, Pierce was charged with keeping a close watch to ensure the continuation of sea-service traditions and that the time-honored reputation of the Coast Guard was maintained.

He accomplished this by using the largely ceremonial title to be a voice for cuttermen by advocating for enlisted crewmembers.

“I thought it was important for the voices below decks to be heard,” he said. “It’s easy to forget or not know what the conditions below decks on our cutters are, and I just want to make sure those voices are heard.”

Having served nearly 15 years at sea, Pierce knows what life is like for the men and women who serve at sea.

Pierce served as part of the sea pay review working group and frequently taught senior enlisted leadership course classes at the Leadership Development Center, located at the U.S. Coast Guard Academy. He was also a frequent speaker at boat forces command and prospective commanding officer and prospective executive officer classes.

He further increased the presence of “The Ancient” by attending all of the commissioning ceremonies for the service’s Sentinel-class fast response cutters, which are named after enlisted members who served heroically in the Coast Guard or one of its predecessor services.

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.

Having passed on the title and with his retirement date approaching, his eyes, normally set in a stern, perhaps questioning look, occasionally mist over at the memory of his decades of service.

“I feel honored to be able to serve with all the people I’ve been stationed with, and I’m humbled by all the attention,” Pierce said. “I think it’s awesome that I got to put this uniform on and serve with great Americans.”

Pierce’s sea duty included tours aboard:

§ USCGC RED OAK, Gloucester City, N.J.,
§ USCGC LIPAN, Key West, Fla.,
§ USCGC STEADFAST, St Petersburg, Fla.,
§ USCGC SHERMAN, Alameda, Ca.,
§ USCGC MATINICUS, Executive Petty Officer, Cape May, N.J.,
§ USCGC POINT FRANKLIN, Officer in Charge, Cape May, N.J.,
§ USCGC MAKO, Plankowner, Officer in Charge, Cape May, N.J., and,
§ USCGC SEAHAWK, Officer in Charge, Carrabelle, Fla.

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  • Timh3

    Where did this ceremony take place at?

  • Maurice C. Poulin

    Good Luck for a happy and healthy retirement for Master Chief Lloyd Pierce.A well deserved future life in retirement.From a retired Chief to another chief.Maurice C. Poulin

  • Paul I. Morgan

    Lloyd, you were an excellent speaker and advocate for cuttermen. Congratulations and enjoy retirement. @Timh3: looks like it took place at the USCG Academy.