Cuttermen are called upon to submit themselves to the dangers of the sea in all weather with little more than their experience to carry them safely through.  The Ancient Mariner award was established in 1978 to honor the officer and enlisted Coast Guard Cuttermen who personify the dedication and professionalism associated with long service at sea and have held the distinction of Cuttermen longer than any other officer or enlisted member. The cutterman designation comes after five years of sea-service but a person must have a minimum of 10 years sea-duty to qualify for the award. 

The Ancient Mariners are charged with keeping a close watch to ensure that the sea service traditions are continued and that the time-honored reputation of the Coast Guard is maintained. During the ceremony, the new Ancient Mariner dons the traditional Ancient Mariner “garb” consisted of a fore and aft style hat, gold braided shoulder epaulets, a Revenue Cutter log book and a nautical long glass. 

Gold Ancient Mariner

Coast Guard Commandant Adm. Bob Papp passes on the honorary title of Gold Ancient Mariner to Rear Adm. Fred Midgette. U.S. Coast Guard photo by Petty Officer 2nd Class Patrick Kelley.

RADM F. M. Midgette

Silver Ancient Mariner

MCPOCG S. W. Cantrell

Previous Ancient Mariners


  1. CAPT Axel Hagstrom
  2. CAPT D. F. Smith
  3. RADM W. H. Stewart
  4. CAPT John Hearn
  5. CAPT J. D. Webb
  6. CAPT E. E. O’Donnell
  7. RADM R. R. Cueroni
  8. ADM Paul A. Yost
  9. LCDR M. B. Guttormsen
  10. CAPT William S. Chever
  11. CAPT Richard A. McCullough
  12. CAPT Michael Jett
  13. ADM Robert J. Papp
  14. RADM F.M. Midgett


  1. QMCM C. E. Dowden, Jr.
  2. HSCM Clarence Sheffield
  3. QMC Frank Albright, Jr.
  4. BMCM Donald Urquhart
  5. BMCS Charles D. Buckley
  6. BMCM Michael W. Gibbs
  7. DCCM Amritt A. Villa
  8. GMCS Christopher C. Kukla
  9. EMCM Richard S. Vobornik
  10. BMCM Steven A. Hearn
  11. BMCM Lloyd A. Pierce
  12. MCPOCG S. W. Cantrell