A voice for cuttermen
Posted by LT Stephanie Young, Monday, May 5, 2014
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.
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.
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.