Robert J. Papp Jr.

Robert Papp
United States Special Representative for the Arctic
Assumed office
July 14, 2014
President Barack Obama
Preceded by Position established
Commandant of the Coast Guard
In office
May 25, 2010  May 30, 2014
President Barack Obama
Preceded by Thad Allen
Succeeded by Paul Zukunft
Personal details
Born (1952-03-25) March 25, 1952
North Kingstown, Rhode Island, U.S.
Alma mater United States Coast Guard Academy
Naval War College
Salve Regina University

Military career

Allegiance  United States
Service/branch United States Coast Guard
Years of service 1975–2014
Rank Admiral
Commands held Commandant of the Coast Guard
Commander, U.S. Coast Guard Atlantic Area
Commander, U.S. Coast Guard 9th District
Battles/wars Global War on Terrorism
  September 11 attacks
Awards Homeland Security Distinguished Service Medal
Defense Distinguished Service Medal
Coast Guard Distinguished Service Medal
Legion of Merit
Meritorious Service Medal
Coast Guard Commendation Medal
Coast Guard Achievement Medal

Admiral Robert J. Papp Jr. (born March 25, 1952) is a retired United States Coast Guard admiral and served as the 24th Commandant of the U.S. Coast Guard. He led the largest component of the United States Department of Homeland Security, with 42,000 active duty, 8,200 Reserve, 8,000 civilian, and 31,000 Auxiliary personnel.

Early life and education

Papp is a 1975 graduate of the United States Coast Guard Academy. Additionally, he holds a Master of Arts in National Security and Strategic Studies from the United States Naval War College and a Master of Science in Management from Salve Regina University.[1]


U.S. Coast Guard

As a flag officer, Papp served as Commander, Coast Guard Atlantic Area, where he was operational commander for all U.S. Coast Guard missions within the eastern half of the world and provided support to the Department of Defense; as the Chief of Staff of the Coast Guard and Commanding Officer of Coast Guard Headquarters; as Commander, Ninth Coast Guard District, with responsibilities for Coast Guard missions on the Great Lakes and Northern Border; and as Director of Reserve and Training where he was responsible for managing and supporting 13,000 Coast Guard Ready Reservists and all Coast Guard Training Centers.

Papp is a cutterman, having served on six Coast Guard cutters and commanded the cutters USCGC Red Beech, USCGC Papaw, USCGC Forward, and USCGC Eagle, the U.S. Coast Guard's training barque. He has also served as commander of a task unit during Operation Able Manner off the coast of Haiti in 1994, enforcing United Nations sanctions. Additionally, his task unit augmented U.S. Naval Forces during an American intervention in Haiti.

Papp's assignments ashore have included the Commandant of Cadets staff at the U.S. Coast Guard Academy; Aids to Navigation staff in the Third Coast Guard District; Chief of the Capabilities Branch in the Defense Operations Division; Chief of the Fleet Development Team; Director of the Leadership Development Center; Chief of the Coast Guard’s Office of Congressional Affairs; and Deputy Chief of Staff of the Coast Guard.

Commander of the Atlantic Area

Until May 2010, Papp served as Commander, Coast Guard Atlantic Area in Portsmouth, Virginia and Commander, Defense Force East. He served as the operational commander for all U.S. Coast Guard missions within the eastern half of the world; ranging from the Rocky Mountains to the Persian Gulf and spanning an area of responsibility across 42 states with over 14 million square miles, and serving with more than 51,000 military and civilian employees and Auxiliarists.[2] In this role, he was also Commander, Defense Force East and provided Coast Guard mission support to the Department of Defense and Combatant Commanders.[3] He assumed those duties in July 2008.

Commandant of the U.S. Coast Guard

Papp was promoted to admiral and succeeded Admiral Thad Allen as the U.S. Coast Guard's commandant in a change of command ceremony on May 25, 2010.[4] Papp made the first appointment in United States history of a woman to head a United States military service academy when he designated Sandra L. Stosz as superintendent of United States Coast Guard Academy.[5] On May 30, 2014, Papp was succeeded by Admiral Paul F. Zukunft.

U.S. Special Representative for the Arctic

On July 16, 2014, U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry announced the appointment of retired Admiral Robert Papp to serve as U.S. Special Representative for the Arctic.[6]

Awards and decorations

Gold star
Bronze star
Cutterman Insignia
1st row
Homeland Security Distinguished Service Medal
Defense Distinguished Service Medal
2nd row
Coast Guard Distinguished Service Medal with gold award star
Legion of Merit with three gold award stars
Meritorious Service Medal with gold award star and Operational Distinguishing Device
3rd row
Coast Guard Commendation Medal with three gold award stars and "O" device
Coast Guard Achievement Medal with "O" device
Commandant's Letter of Commendation Ribbon
4th row
Coast Guard Presidential Unit Citation with "hurricane symbol"
Secretary of Transportation Outstanding Unit Award
Coast Guard Unit Commendation with 1 award star and "O" device
5th row
Coast Guard Meritorious Unit Commendation with 4 award stars and "O" device
Navy Meritorious Unit Commendation Ribbon
Meritorious Team Commendation with 2 award stars
6th row
Coast Guard "E" Ribbon
Coast Guard Bicentennial Unit Commendation
National Defense Service Medal with 2 bronze service stars
7th row
Armed Forces Expeditionary Medal
Global War on Terrorism Service Medal
Armed Forces Service Medal
8th row
Humanitarian Service Medal with 1 service star
Transportation 9-11 Ribbon
Special Operations Service Ribbon with 3 service stars
9th row
Sea Service Ribbon with 4 service stars
Order of Naval Merit Admiral Padilla (degree unknown)
Pistol Marksmanship Ribbon with silver sharpshooter device
Office of the Secretary of Defense Identification Badge

Personal life

Papp is a native of Norwich, Connecticut. He is married to the former Linda Kapral of East Lyme, Connecticut. The couple has three daughters, three granddaughters, and two grandsons.

On July 30, 2005, Papp was inducted into the Reserve Officers Association Minuteman Hall of Fame in recognition of dedicated service to the nation in support of the U.S. Coast Guard Reserve. He was presented the Distinguished Public Service Award of the National Maritime Historical Society in 1998 for his service as the Commanding Officer of the Coast Guard Cutter Eagle. In 2005 he was presented with the "Native Sons Award" by his home town of Norwich, Connecticut.

Papp is the 13th Gold Ancient Mariner of the Coast Guard, which is an honorary position held by an officer, with the earliest date of qualification as a Cutterman and over ten years of cumulative sea duty.[7] Papp accepted the 2010 Naval War College Distinguished Graduate Leadership Award from the Naval War College (NWC) during a ceremony held at the Washington Navy Yard on May 6, 2010. In a cover story interview published in the February 2012 issue of Military Officer, he described his plans for budgetary reductions in the U.S. Coast Guard.[8] Additionally, Admiral Papp was presented with the Dwight D. Eisenhower award in 2013.

See also


  1. Papp Official Coast Guard bio
  3. Official Coast Guard website (public domain)
  5. Altimari, Daniela (2010-12-15). "Military academy gets female leader". Times-Picayune (Saint Tammany Edition). New Orleans. p. A2. Retrieved 2010-12-15.
  6. Secretary Kerry's Remarks U.S. Dept of State, 2014 July 16, retrieved: 2014 Aug. 4.
  8. Philpott, Tom (February 2012). "Up to speed". Military Officer. 10 (2). Military Officers Association of America. pp. 52–57. Retrieved 2012-01-30.
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Military offices
Preceded by
Thad Allen
Commandant of the Coast Guard
Succeeded by
Paul Zukunft
Diplomatic posts
New office United States Special Representative for the Arctic
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