Tuesday, September 15, 2009

From Blue to Tan – The multi colors of the Coast Guard Uniform

VADM Papp met with the next PATFORSWA Training class students at ISC Portsmouth. The first official day of school started for these men and women. These Coast Guard members will spend the next two months training for deployment to the Northern Arabian Gulf and outlying areas. They will replace those existing members that spent the last year in theater supporting Department of Defense missions. The training builds upon their current skills to operate in a different environment then they are accustomed.

“While you are here in Portsmouth, learn everything you can. You will not know which of these skills you will use while you are there. You can be called to many things from driving a boat to driving a truck accross the desert. You are training to do what we need to do and become part of some of the hardest working Coast Guard personnel in the world. You are going to a dangerous but not risky environment. The mission you are training for is not only significant for our country but is also significant for Iraq, Kuwait and other countries in the area.”

“I am here to thank you for your service. So thank you and Good Luck.”

VADM Papp just recently came back from meeting with the forward deployed forces in Iraq, Kuwait and Bahrain. The first hand knowledge helps better support those in theater. Besides taking questions from the group he shared his experience in a video presentation.

Just like an excited parent whom has just sent their child off to the first day of school after a summer break, VADM Papp is very excited for these shipmates of his. “I look forward to seeing you again at the conclusion of your training and I am going to try and get back overseas to see you in action.”

The students will change their uniforms after training from the Coast Guard ODU Blue to Desert tan camouflage. Then they will be forward deployed in Iraq, Kuwait, and Bahrain. And for the first time members of this class will also deploy to assist operations in Afghanistan.

Thursday, September 3, 2009

All hands on deck of the CGC NORTHLAND

Vice Admiral Robert J. Papp, Jr. and his wife Linda joined the CGC NORTHLAND on deck for an all hands meeting. They attended especially to pay tribute the work of Mrs. Nichole McLeod. She is the 2009 recipient of the Coast Guard Ombudsman of the Year Award and a top 10 finalist for the 2009 Military Spouse of the Year Award.

Mrs. Linda Papp addressed the ship’s company in praising the work of Mrs. McLeod and the Ombudsman program. “It is important to know that there is someone back on shore assisting the crew’s families while the cutters are at sea. There is a lot of work that normally goes unrecognized. I am glad today we get the chance to recognize the work of Mrs. McLeod”

The Vice Admiral has an additional fondness for the NORTHLAND. He was the NORTHLAND’s temporary Commanding Officer back in 1995. The CGC FORWARD was in the background of the all hands meeting today. Vice Admiral Papp was the CGC FORWARD’s CO from 1993 to 1995. It is hard to find a cutter in the Coast Guard that the Vice Admiral has not commanded, crewed, or worked in some capacity. Luckily with the Coast Guard’s Deep water program, there will be some new cutters for him to visit that he has never been on.

Very well, Carry on

Vice Admiral Papp met with the staff of the Atlantic Area Command Center. He wanted to remind them of the important job they do for him, the Coast Guard and the people we serve. He focused on the words “Command Center” and especially the word “Command”. They are all representatives of him as Commander Atlantic Area. They are running the bridge of the ship Atlantic Area. This comes from the Vice Admirals 10 years as Coast Guard Cutter Commanding Officers.

“If all I needed the watch standers to do is fill out the QRC, I could get anyone off the street to stand the watch. I need your Coast Guard experience and use your grey matter to give me Mission Cognizance and Excellence.”

He knows his ship is running well, when he can take a call from the bridge and not have to head up for every situation. During the passing information the watch stander knows that the VADM has confidence in them and they are doing well when he feels comfortable to just say:
“Very well”
“Carry on”

Wednesday, September 2, 2009

Master and Commander

Vice Admiral Robert J. Papp, Jr. introduced the movie "Master and Commander" based on the Patrick O’Brian book series to the Hampton Roads Officer Association meeting . The movie was used to reference leadership lessons. This is similar to how the 1949 movie "12 O’clock High" was used for leadership classes in the past. This "Master and Commander" as a leadership movie has better sound and is in color than 12 O’clock High. Also, this movie is lacking Gregory Peck and filled with Russell Crow, but there are plenty of leadership observations to discuss.

VADM Papp gave his versions of leadership lessons from the movie. He claims not to be a Patrick O’Brian fanatic. The rest of us know better. During PCS moves, VADM Papp has one truck for household goods and a follow on truck full "Master and Commander" series books, collector set movies, soundtracks, Jack Aubry musical sing-a-longs, and, oh yes, the Master and Commander Cookbook. How many receipts for Lobscouse and Spotted Dog are there? The Commander Atlantic Area can answer that for you. So if you are looking for a food dish the VADM may like. Think of boiling it, burning it, and knocking off the weevils.

The movie had a hard act to follow. I don’t think there is anyone more enthusiastic about the roles of historical sailors and there leadership techniques than VADD Papp. I know everyone left the meeting with a better appreciation of the "Master and Commander" movie and can associate leadership skills from 200 years ago into our modern day Coast Guard challenges. Just today, we need to leave the “Cat” in the bag.

An audio transcript of the August 28,2009 discussion by VADM Papp is available on the Commander Atlantic Homepage for your listening pleasure.

Remember when picking a loaf of bread at the store next time, “Pick the lesser of two weevils.” And look for the movie "Commander Atlantic Area" coming to a movie theatre near you.


The Amazing Race: Vice Admiral Robert J. Papp, Jr and Coast Guard Atlantic Area staff traveled more than 10,000 miles and covered seven countries to meet the hardest working Coast Guard members of the Atlantic Area. The mission was to meet with Forward Deployed Coast Guard members from the Northern Arabian Gulf, hold an all hands meeting with the Secretary of Homeland Security at Camp Patriot, Kuwait, converse with US Navy Combatant Commanders, and interact with officials in Bahrain, Kuwait, Iraq, and Malta in less than 12 days from 30 June to 12 July, 2009.

“Mission success” said VADM Papp. “It was great to shake hands with my shipmates in the Gulf and to have Secretary Napolitano see how the forward deployed forces work and live. She couldn’t have traveled further from Washington DC to see the hardest working Coast Guardsman and women than in the world. I am extremely pleased at the work by every single member deployed to the Northern Arabian Gulf”.

Pictured Left to Right: LT Donte Perry, CMC Bryan Clemons, LCDR Prince Neal, LCDR Mike Goldschmidt, AMT2 Amy Klines, AET1 Darin Grant, AMT2 Jessie Summerline, Vice Admiral Robert J. Papp, Jr. , S/A Troy Hascher, CDR Ric Rodriguez, Chaplin Gary Weeden, LT Cliff DeTemple with Coast Guard “TWO” in the background.

Thursday, July 9, 2009

Recognizing our people

(LEFT) FN Stephen Newberry is presented a "Good Shipmate coin" aboard the Coast Guard Cutter Monomoy. Vice Adm. Papp created the coin to recognize those persons that go beyond their day-to-day job to put a little extra in for the Coast Guard and their shipmates.
(RIGHT) Congratulations are in order for Petty Officer 2nd Class Dylan Ranson for earning his Reserve Good Conduct Award Ranson is assigned to the FOB at Camp Patriot in Kuwait.


Vice Adm. Papp met with the addresses Coast Guardmen assigned to the forward operating base (FOB) at Camp Patriot in Kuwait, Tuesday, July 7. The FOB is made up of personnel from Coast Guard Port Security Unit 301, Redeployment Assistance Inspection Detachment Nine, and various other FOB support staff members.