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Office of Leadership (CG-12C)

Captain David H. Jarvis Inspirational Leadership Award

David Henry Jarvis was appointed to the Revenue Cutter Service in 1881, and served until his retirement as a captain in 1905. He spent the majority of his career in Alaska and the Bering Sea. His most famous adventure came during an expedition to save the men of a whaling fleet that had become trapped in the ice off Point Barrow, Alaska, during the winter of 1897-1898.

Jarvis, then a first-lieutenant, led a three-man rescue team consisting of Second-Lieutenant Ellsworth P. Bertholf and Dr. J. S. Call of the U. S. Public Health Service, with a herd of about 400 reindeer, across 1,500 miles of tundra and pack-ice to Point Barrow. They arrived after a journey of 99 days and thereby saved more than 300 men from starvation. They had completed the longest rescue mission ever undertaken in Coast Guard history. On 28 June 1902, Congress, in response to a request from President William McKinley to recognize officially what he called a "victory of peace," awarded Gold Medals of Honor to Jarvis and the other two members of what became known as the Overland Relief Expedition.

The Navy League annually presents the Jarvis award recognizing an outstanding Coast Guard officer. The awards are separate and distinct from the military decorations and awards program. The Captain David H. Jarvis Award for inspirational leadership is awarded to the Coast Guard Officer who has made outstanding contributions to the high standards of competence and leadership traditions in the Coast Guard.

Eligibility Requirements

The guidelines are intentionally flexible and extends to all regular and reserve officers serving on active duty during the calendar year.

(1) Consistently demonstrate outstanding leadership skills which motivate and inspire personnel to strive for excellence and achieve measurable results that contribute to the success of the Coast Guard.

(2) Possess the ability to create and maintain a positive culture where the differences of all personnel are respected, so that all can achieve their full potential and maximize their contributions to Coast Guard missions.

(3) Act with strategic intent to ensure optimization of resources, influence the success of major operations or programs, and achieve operational excellence.

(4) Guided, coached, or mentored others to reach new levels of performance.

Recommendations: Commandant (CG-12C) solicits nominations via ALCOAST message annually.

Specific Nomination Guidelines - Nomination Deadline January 15, 2016



Presentation: Certificates and inscribed watches are presented at the annual National Navy League Convention. Commandant (CG-12C) pays for the winners’ and their spouse’s transportation and the Navy League pays for accommodations and meals at the convention location.

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Last Modified 1/12/2016