Sen. Shelley Moore Capito (R-W.Va.) was presented Tuesday with the U.S. Coast Guard Commodore Ellsworth P. Bertholf Award by Commandant Adm. Karl Schultz.
Each year the Coast Guard presents the award to a member of Congress who exemplifies the spirit of Bertholf by making substantial contributions in support of the men and women of the United States Coast Guard and enhances the ability of the service to carry out its missions.
“I’ve been on land, in the air, and at sea with the Coast Guard, and I will always be proud to support Coasties in their missions,” Capito said.
Schultz thanked Capito “for her support of our Service, including funding the Polar Security Cutter, the first heavy icebreaker built in the U.S. in 40-plus years.”
The award is named after Commodore Ellsworth P. Bertholf, who throughout his career – which included the legendary Overland Expedition – exhibited courage without equal, and in 1911 was named commandant of the Revenue Cutter Service. Shortly after assuming his leadership position, a presidential report was released recommending the complete dissolution of the Revenue Cutter Service and the transfer of the U.S. Life-Saving Service. Bertholf was thrust into a struggle to save his beloved service.
Bertholf spoke powerfully to citizens, Congress and the administration about his vision of a service with unparalleled value to the nation; he spoke of the Coast Guard as we have come to know it today – a military, multi-mission and maritime service. In 1915, his determination and advocacy led to the merger of the Revenue Cutter Service and the U.S. Life-Saving Service to form the present-day United States Coast Guard. Bertholf was named the first commandant, and the new service prospered under his leadership.