The spirit of Bertholf: Rep. David Price

Coast Guard Commandant Adm. Paul Zukunft presents the Commodore Ellsworth P. Bertholf Award to Rep. David Price. U.S. Coast Guard photo by Petty Officer 2nd Class Patrick Kelley.

Coast Guard Commandant Adm. Paul Zukunft presents the Commodore Ellsworth P. Bertholf Award to Rep. David Price. U.S. Coast Guard photo by Petty Officer 2nd Class Patrick Kelley.

North Carolina is home to some of the nation’s most diverse aquatic habitats, including 23 species of threatened sea turtles, birds, whales, fish and sea grasses. The state’s waterways include two major international ports, a commercial fishing fleet of more than 9,000 vessels and a robust commercial ferry system. The state is also home to a challenging environment beset by shifting sands and shallow inlets.

The Aviation Technical Training Center in Elizabeth City is one of many Coast Guard units in North Carolina. U.S. Coast Guard photo.

The Aviation Technical Training Center in Elizabeth City is one of many Coast Guard units in North Carolina. U.S. Coast Guard photo.

This variable-filled environment makes North Carolina’s waterways some of the most difficult to navigate, protect and secure. Able, capable and up to the task are more than 3,000 Coast Guard members – active duty, reserve, civilian and auxiliary – who call North Carolina home.

North Carolina is also home to Rep. David Price, the 2013 recipient of the Commodore Ellsworth P. Bertholf Award. The annual award is a way to recognize members of Congress who exemplify the spirit of the award’s namesake – the service’s first commandant.

As someone who sees the Coast Guard in action in his home state, Price has made substantial contributions in support of the men and women of the Coast Guard, enhancing the ability of the service to carry out its missions. Missions like search and rescue.

One place where Price’s support for search and rescue is visible is at the Aviation Technical Training Center. Located in Elizabeth City, N.C., the one-of-a-kind facility is home to the Coast Guard’s enlisted aviation forces, providing training for the three Coast Guard aviation ratings.

“Congressman Price has been a stalwart supporter of the Coast Guard’s most critical programs,” said Coast Guard Commandant Adm. Paul Zukunft at a ceremony honoring Price. “His support of the Coast Guard’s Aviation Technical Training Center has ensured that our men and women continue to provide the search and rescue capability that the American people have come to rely upon for nearly 224 years.”

Price was also a leader in the effort to transfer 14 C-27J aircraft from the Air Force to the Coast Guard. Those aircraft not only added to the service’s capabilities through new assets, but will also save millions in procurement costs. The same could be said for Price’s work in other key acquisition goals, including long-lead time and funding for the eighth national security cutter, pre-acquisition funding for the offshore patrol cutter and design and funding for the fast response cutter.

The Commodore Ellsworth P. Bertholf Award. U.S. Coast Guard photo by Petty Officer 2nd Class Patrick Kelley.

The Commodore Ellsworth P. Bertholf Award. U.S. Coast Guard photo by Petty Officer 2nd Class Patrick Kelley.

“Those assets will allow the next generation of Coast Guard men and women to continue the service our public expects for the next half century or more,” said the Commandant.

Upon receiving the Commodore Ellsworth P. Bertholf Award today, Price was presented a watch glass, a traditional nautical tool sailors have used throughout history to identify friends or foes, read signals from other ships and identify landmarks and navigation aids. While not the most traditional award, the watch glass is more than a historical token. The watch glass represents the long-range vision of the recipient; a symbol of Bertholf’s vision of the Coast Guard America knows today – a military, multi-mission and maritime service.

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