The Coast Guard Foundation said its annual 2016 salute to the Coast Guard will take place Thursday at the Marriott Marquis in New York.
The foundation will present the National Award for Heroism to the crew of the Coast Guard Cutter Bertholf and will recognize Morton S. Bouchard III, president and CEO of Bouchard Transportation. A cocktail reception will begin at 6:30 p.m. Dinner and the program will follow at 7:30 p.m.
During a 16-month deployment from December 2014 to April 2016, the crew of the Bertholf engaged in unmanned aerial vehicle testing, counter-drug operations and multinational exercises, the foundation said.
Breaking new ground in December 2014, Bertholf was the first Coast Guard ship to successfully launch and recover a Navy Fire Scout unmanned helicopter — advancing the Coast Guard’s ambitions for cutter-based unmanned aerial reconnaissance systems.
Also, during three counter-drug patrols, the Bertholf performed 32 law enforcement interdictions. Most notably, the crew accomplished two self-propelled semi-submersible vessel interdictions, including one highly successful nighttime operation that combined yielded 12,669 kilograms of cocaine.
The foundation said that during the 16-month period the cutter detained 82 suspected narco-traffickers and seized 28,187 kilograms of contraband valued at more than $985 million. Those efforts were responsible for more than 10 percent of the Coast Guard’s total cocaine seizures in 2015.
The foundation said Bouchard has been a leader in supporting its mission and policies for more than two decades. He was a trustee from 1998 to 2013, and the foundation said his support and leadership have been critical for the expansion of its education, morale and relief programs.
As a result of his significant investment in the foundation’s scholarships, the foundation said it has been able to expand the program to award more than 80 scholarships in 2015 and almost 130 in 2016 to Coast Guard dependents.
“The men and women of the Coast Guard are on call every day, often in harm’s way and occasionally far from home,” Coast Guard Foundation president Anne Brengle said in a statement.
“The tireless dedication of these individuals rarely receives recognition, and we are humbled to be able to honor the excellence of one such crew, that of the Cutter Bertholf. Also, through the support of noted and generous individuals, including Mort Bouchard, we are able to do our small part to give back to the crew of the Bertholf and their families and thank them for keeping our nation safe.”