Garamendi Receives Navy League’s Vincent T. Hirsch Award
VALLEJO, Calif. — U.S. Rep. John Garamendi, D-Calif., received the Vincent T. Hirsch Maritime Award for Outstanding Leadership from the Navy League of the United States Sept. 15.
Selected for his “commitment to the goal of maintaining a strong U.S. maritime and shipbuilding industry to protect the military and economic security of the United States,” Garamendi was presented the Navy League’s award at a ceremony at the California State University Maritime Academy.
Rear Adm. Todd Sokalzuk, commander of the Eleventh Coast Guard District, delivered remarks of appreciation for the congressman, and Navy League National President Alan Kaplan and Ship Operations & Maintenance Officer Hank Ryan, of the Maritime Administration’s Division of Pacific Operations, presented the award.
“Congressman Garamendi has always been a strong supporter of our sea services. He has been one of the greatest champions of the U.S.-flag Merchant Marine in Congress, and understands why our country must invest in this valuable service. We are proud to present this award to someone with such a remarkable record of support. His is a great American who understands that we are a maritime nation,” Kaplan said
“The men and women of the U.S. Merchant Marine help keep our nation's economy strong and provide essential support to our military and maritime security. Great supporters of the maritime community deserve to be recognized,” Sokalzuk said. “The Navy League’s Vincent T. Hirsch Maritime Award, presented to Congressman John Garamendi here today, recognizes those who not only understand the importance of the maritime community, but are leaders taking action to strengthen and protect it. The congressman’s work as ranking member of the House Coast Guard and Maritime Transportation Committee and the Armed Services Seapower and Projection Forces Committee reflect his knowledge of, concern for, and commitment to the maritime community.”
The Vincent T. Hirsch Maritime Award is presented to a distinguished American who has been singularly effective in creating a broader understanding of the importance of the Merchant Marine and maritime industry to national security. Garamendi, who has served in Congress since 2009, is the ranking member of the House Committee on Transportation and Infrastructure Committee’s Coast Guard and Maritime Transportation Subcommittee and serves on the House Armed Services Committee. He also serves on the Maritime Caucus and the Shipbuilding Caucus.
Garamendi’s work on the Water Resources Development Act of 2016, two Coast Guard & Maritime Transportation Reauthorization bills, multiple National Defense Authorization Acts and more have led to language directing the secretary of Transportation to develop guidelines to promote the use of U.S.-flag ships and U.S. mariners in the export of liquefied natural gas and increased funding for the Maritime Security Program. His Energizing American Maritime Act would strengthen the U.S. maritime industry by requiring up to 30 percent of exports of strategic energy assets to travel on U.S.-flagged vessels. He also has led efforts to make it easier for veterans’ experience to translate to mariner credentialing.
The award states that “the U.S.-flag Merchant Marine and maritime industry will be forever grateful for his contributions and his efforts reflect the highest traditions of the Navy League of the United States.”
Founded in 1902 with the encouragement of President Theodore Roosevelt, the Navy League has provided a powerful voice for a stronger sea service to Congress and to the American people. The Navy League has grown into the foremost citizens’ organization to serve, support and stand with all the sea services – the U.S. Navy, U.S. Marine Corps, U.S. Coast Guard and U.S.-flag Merchant Marine.