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PENOBSCOT BAY Ship's History: Cutter Awards and Recognition

Formal awards, organizational recognition, and outside letters of appreciation earned by the cutter and its crew

Over her quarter-century of distinguished service, PENOBSCOT BAY and her crew have earned many formal awards and recognition for their operational accomplishments and community relations efforts.

Many of the citations are featured here in this section of the Ship's History Archive; click each thumbnail image to view the full-size document. The citations are available as PDF files; link here to download the necessary plug-in if you do not have it.

View of PENOBSCOT BAY's pilothouse and ribbon bar with an icebound tug and barge in background.Like individual personnel in the U.S. military, the cutter "wears" her own collection of ribbons and awards on a "ribbon bar" affixed to either side of the ship's pilothouse (see image at right, courtesy Craig Ruttle). This ribbon bar is updated when the ship earns a new honor or marks a new milestone in her service life. The insignia used on the ship's ribbon bars are the same as those worn on ribbons by individual members of the Coast Guard. For general information on Coast Guard awards and honors, including those featured below, consult the Coast Guard Medals and Awards Manual, COMDTINST M1650.25 (series).

If you are a former PENOBSCOT BAY sailor or simply a Coast Guard icebreaker buff in possession of additional award citations that are not featured here, please contact us so that we might republish them.

Thumbnail image of Meritorious Unit Commendation citation7 September 2004: Coast Guard Meritorious Unit Commendation

Awarded to units of the First Coast Guard District for icebreaking efforts from December 2003 to March 2004, during an unusually severe winter season that saw ice formation in New York's Lower Bay, Buzzards Bay, and around Nantucket.

Thumbnail image of Meritorious Team Commendation citation2 August 2005: Coast Guard Meritorious Team Commendation

Awarded to members of PENOBSCOT BAY's Engineering Department for "an intense period of naval engineering" from 30 March 2005 to 30 April 2005. During the period, the team successfully upgraded one of the cutter's main diesel engines and effected repairs to the other engine and to both of the ship's service diesel generators.

Thumbnail image of Unit Commendation citation3 January 2006: Coast Guard Unit Commendation

Awarded to Coast Guard Activities New York (PENOBSCOT BAY's parent command; now Sector New York) and its subunits for successful execution of sustained maritime security operations during two periods of heightened security in 2003 and 2004.

4 June 2008: Coast Guard Meritorious Unit Commendation & First District Unit Award for Mission Excellence

5 January 2009: Special Operations Service Ribbon

PENOBSCOT BAY earned all three awards for its icebreaking efforts following a successful deployment in 2008 to assist the Canadian Coast Guard in opening the St. Lawrence Seaway for the spring shipping season.

Thumbnail image of Meritorious Unit Commendation citationThe Meritorious Unit Commendation was presented to PENOBSCOT BAY by Rear Admiral Timothy Sullivan, Commander, First Coast Guard District. The deployment was the first ever by a First District icebreaker to specifically assist the Canadian Coast Guard in opening the Seaway. The deployment also marked the first time a U.S. Coast Guard icebreaker was placed under the tactical control of the Canadian government.

Thumbnail image of Mission Excellence Award citationIn addition to the formal recognition it received in the award above, PENOBSCOT BAY received the First District Award for Mission Excellence for its operational accomplishments during the quarter (January-March 2008). The award is given quarterly by the District Commander and Master Chief to one unit within the First Coast Guard District in recognition of exceptional operational success. The citation recognizes PENOBSCOT BAY for completing several other missions in addition to the icebreaking deployment. The citation (to the cutter and her crew) reads in part, "You have demonstrated extraordinary dedication and you strengthened a long tradition of international cooperation between Canada and the United States."

Thumbnail image of Special Operations Service Ribbon authorizationThe cutter (and all crewmembers who were assigned to her during the deployment) were also authorized to wear Coast Guard's Special Operations Service Ribbon. Vice Admiral R. J. Papp, Commander, Atlantic Area, authorized the wearing of the ribbon by all units who participated in icebreaking operations on the Great Lakes during the unusually severe winter of 2007-2008.

WEBMASTER's NOTE: Images from the deployment are available in five annotated galleries on our fan site. (Once on the site, choose the "Photos" section.) Media coverage the cutter earned following the operation is available here in the Media Center section of our site.

Thumbnail image of Meritorious Team Commendation citation20 August 2008: Coast Guard Meritorious Team Commendation

Awarded to more than 25 Sector New York personnel, including seven from the PENOBSCOT BAY, who planned and executed a highly successful "Coast Guard Day" Partnership in Education event at Highland Avenue Middle School in Midland Park, New Jersey. The event was planned in large part by PENOBSCOT BAY's sister cutter, the STURGEON BAY.

Thumbnail image of Unit Commendation citation18 February 2009: Coast Guard Unit Commendation

Awarded to Sector New York and its subunits for the successful rescue on 15 January 2009 of 155 passengers aboard US Airways flight 1549 after the plane crash-landed in the Hudson River.

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Last Modified 1/12/2016