The U.S. Maritime Administration (MarAd) honored one of its own on May 23 during the U.S. Department of Transportation’s (DoT) annual National Maritime Day ceremony.
VADM Albert Herberger (USN, ret.) received MarAd’s Mariner Award for his years of service to the U.S.-flag maritime industry, including at the helm of the administration from 1993 to 1997.
During Herberger’s tenure at MarAd, he worked closely with the industry, Congress and the Clinton administration to pass and implement the highly successful Maritime Security Program. He graduated from the U.S. Merchant Marine Academy before being commissioned in the Navy.
Keynote speakers for the event were Interlake Steamship Company President Mark Barker and AFL-CIO Transportation Trades Department President Edward Wytkind.
Barker urged Washington to include needed federal funding to keep the U.S.-flag on the Great Lakes, inland waters and oceans as well as upgrading harbors and ports as it would be “an investment in the nation.”
Wytkind saluted the challenges overcome by previous generations of mariners, while strongly pointing out the need to modernize America’s ports and upgrade its shipping capacity as part of an overall domestic transportation infrastructure program.
Also speaking were Gen. Darren W. McDew (USAF), commander of the U.S. Transportation Command, and RADM T. K. Shannon (USN), commander of the Military Sealift Command.
Participants held a moment of silence and a wreath-laying for those mariners lost in the last year, including a special tribute to the crew of the ill-fated El Faro.
The DoT ceremony recognizes the accomplishments and sacrifices of the men and women who have sailed on commercial vessels under the U.S. flag since the nation’s inception. In 1933, President Franklin D. Roosevelt and Congress proclaimed May 22 National Maritime Day in commemoration of the first transatlantic steam voyage accomplished by the steamship Savannah. (This year’s event was held May 23 as the traditional date fell on a Sunday.)