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Press Release | April 25, 2024

New CGA policy revokes awards and honors for individual misconduct

Coast Guard Academy

NEW LONDON, Conn. -- The U.S. Coast Guard Academy recently established a process to revoke honorary awards and other permanent institutional recognition given to members who are later found to have committed serious misconduct or engaged in criminal activity. 

“When the Academy recognizes one of our members, we work hard to ensure that this action reflects the values of this institution and our service,” said Rear Admiral Michael Johnston, Academy Superintendent.

“We must also ensure these awards and honors, that serve as a source of pride and inspiration, reflect the culture of this Academy to past, current, and future members,” he added.  

Previous awardees who have committed a crime or violated the Uniform Code of Military Justice (UCMJ) will be notified of their impending removal from any permanent recognition on Academy grounds. The removal of names will not require a criminal conviction of an offense, but rather a preponderance of evidence to account for statute of limitations issues that can occur with survivor reporting of various crimes. In addition, other offenses and misdeeds that violate the Core Values of the service, or which cause individual and institutional harm, will be considered as grounds for removal.

Once information of an awardee’s misconduct is brought to the attention of Academy leadership, an in-person panel of Academy senior leaders and the Superintendent’s Equity Advisory Council (SEAC) will meet to determine if an individual’s actions rise to the level of revoking an award or honor. The panel of leaders will consist of officers, faculty, staff and enlisted members from across the Academy community.

The awardees will be notified of the decision to revoke their awards and given a 30-day window to appeal the decision before final action is taken.  

Upon final decision, any permanent recognition will be removed and destroyed. A replacement plaque, nameplate, or similar recognition piece will be placed and installed with the words, “Honor, Respect and Devotion to Duty” in place of the individual’s name. This symbolic replacement will ensure future generations understand the removal was purposeful while reinforcing the service’s Core Values.

“It is important that we lead by example, and continuously improve our processes,” Johnston said. “This new policy will help us accomplish that.”