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My Coast Guard
Commentary | Jan. 27, 2021

Coast Guard honored with DHS's first Outstanding Unit Award

In one of his final actions while in office, the former Acting Secretary of Homeland Security Chad F. Wolf established the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) Outstanding Unit Award and presented the new award to the United States Coast Guard on Jan. 11. 

The new DHS Outstanding Unit Award is a Department-level award, presented by the DHS secretary, similar to those presented by the secretaries of Defense and Transportation. The award recognizes units whose meritorious actions and operational impact distinguish them above the level of service unit commendation, in our case the Coast Guard Unit Commendation.

“This award is a testament to the hard work and resiliency of every member of our Service,” said Admiral Karl Schultz. “I am proud of your sustained courage and determination in the face of both challenge and adversity. You are the reason we are the World’s Best Coast Guard. Semper Paratus!”

Acting Secretary Wolf presented the award to the Coast Guard in recognition of the Service’s courage, resourcefulness, and professionalism demonstrated from August 2017 to November 2020. The award recognizes the Coast Guard for:

  • Saving or assisting over 13,000 lives across four extremely active hurricane seasons, beginning with the devastating 2017 season and major hurricanes Harvey, Irma and Maria, and ending with the record-setting 2020 season, the most active Atlantic Basin hurricane season in recorded history.
  • Supporting the Department’s response following the Declaration of a National Emergency along the Southwest Border. Additionally, securing our Nation’s borders through record levels of at-sea drug interdictions, seizing 1.3 million pounds of cocaine and detaining 1,856 suspected smugglers for criminal prosecution.
  • Swiftly responding to the early stages of the COVID-19 pandemic, ensuring the safe disembarkation of over 250,000 cruise ship passengers and 90,000 crewmembers from 125 vessels.
  • Demonstrating exceptional resiliency while continuing to “stand the watch” through the 35-day partial government lapse in FY-2019 appropriations that left Coast Guard women and men without pay.

As this is a new award, final policy, eligibility, manner of wear, and guidance on acquiring the new ribbon are still being developed.

Additional guidance will be promulgated by the Personnel Service Center and announced on MyCG once available.