Our designation as a Coast Guard Community is the result of the commitment and respect we have for one another, and the acknowledgment that together we all strive to make Cape May County the best place to live, work and visit. Our combined history is one filled with meaningful impacts to our service, lasting memories for generations of our residents, and the type of patriotism that sets the standard for our Nation.
Throughout the year, new recruits arrive at the Training Center here in Cape May almost every week. At graduation, I tell each of them that regardless of where they came from, be it Texas, Montana or Guam, they are graduating as a completely changed person. When they leave here, they have left behind their old self, and have been reborn a Coast Guardsman –and Cape May County is their new hometown. I say this, because I truly believe Cape May County is that significant to the cultural identity of our service. Eighty percent of our workforce goes through initial training here, wear their uniform in public for the first time here, and receive their first comment from a stranger – “Thank you for your service!” We live here, we have met our spouse here, we have retired here, and we know that in Cape May County we are always welcome. The Coast Guard has been here for over 100 years and is forever tied to this community in service and in spirit.
From life saving stations throughout the region, to stopping rumrunners during prohibition to becoming the service’s sole accession point for our enlisted workforce, we have become more than just the Coast Guard- we have become YOUR Coast Guard. Our local Coast Guardsmen, as well as their dependents, are your neighbors and friends. Our children go to school with one another and we have a vested interest in community issues. In return, Cape May County residents have acknowledged the professional work of our members assigned to the area, and have made us feel at home.
As we celebrate this designation for the second year in a row, I would like to say “Thank You” - for your continued support, commitment and partnership and I look forward to saying, “Cape May County – A Proud Coast Guard Community” for a long time to come. We hope to see all of you on May 7th as we open our gates to the public.
Please take some time and come for a tour, say hello to some recruits, and celebrate our lasting friendship.
Best of Tides,
Captain G. Todd Prestidge
Commanding Officer, Coast Guard Training Center Cape May
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