Coast Guard presents first Captain Domenic A. Calicchio Award

(PORTSMOUTH, VA — November 7, 2007) The Coast Guard dedicate and presented its first Captain Domenic A. Calicchio Award at the Coast Guard Training Center, Yorktown, Va.

The award will be presented to the Investigating Officer Course graduate who, as elected by fellow classmates, most exemplifies the personal and professional qualities exhibited by Calicchio.

The Coast guard considers Calicchio’s  service an embodiment of the Coast Guard’s core values of honor, respect and devotion to duty. Calicchio began his career in World War II at 16 and served 23 years in the merchant marine. He served as a member of the Coast Guard Reserve and in 1968 he accepted a commission as an active duty lieutenant commander.

Calicchio’s greatest achievement was the investigation into the marine casualty of the Marine Electric, a T-2 bulk cargo carrier built to fill Allied war-time shipment needs, which sank in 1983 off the coast of Delaware. Only 3 of the 34 crew members survived. Calicchio, appointed to the Coast Guard’s formal Marine Board of Inquiry, uncovered the causes of the wreck that led to a criminal indictment of the Marine Electric’s owners.

Calicchio’s adherence to strict safety requirements, regardless of their cost to the shipping industry, sometimes put him at odds with the shipping lines whose safety he regulated. The landmark case led to greater safety standards for older vessels and led indirectly to the scrapping of about 70 vessels no longer able to meet safety regulations. It also led to regulations requiring the adoption of survival suits on board vessels navigating in cold water environments and focused attention on the Coast Guard’s rescue swimmer program.

Captain Calicchio retired from the Coast Guard in 1985 and passed away in March 2003.

By Professional Mariner Staff