Papp is nominated for top CG post

President Barack Obama plans to nominate Vice Adm. Robert J. Papp Jr. as the next commandant of the U.S. Coast Guard, the Department of Homeland Security announced Tuesday.

If confirmed by the Senate, Papp, who grew up in Norwich, would begin leading the Coast Guard in May, relieving the current commandant, Adm. Thad W. Allen.

"I'm very humbled by it all," Papp said by phone from his home in Fairfax, Va., Tuesday night. "I'm very thrilled and excited, and I'm looking forward to the process toward confirmation."

Papp currently commands the Coast Guard's Atlantic Area, making him responsible for all of the Coast Guard's missions from the Rocky Mountains to the Arabian Gulf.

"Vice Adm. Papp's extensive knowledge of the Coast Guard's operations and broad mission will strengthen our efforts to ensure the nation's maritime security," Department of Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano said in the press release announcing Obama's intention to nominate Papp.

As commandant, Papp would lead about 42,000 active-duty men and women and 7,000 civilian employees, and oversee all Coast Guard functions.

Papp graduated from the Coast Guard Academy in 1975. He commanded the academy's training ship, the barque Eagle, from 1995 to 1999, an assignment he often describes as the best in the Coast Guard.

Papp became a rear admiral in 2002, and the director of reserve and training, making him responsible for managing 13,000 Coast Guard reservists and all of the training centers.

He then commanded the Ninth Coast Guard District and later became the Coast Guard's chief of staff, with responsibility for all management functions.

In an interview earlier this year, Papp summed up his leadership style in just a few words: "Be firm but be fair, be demanding but also be understanding."

Papp and his wife, Linda Kapral Papp, have three daughters, Lindsay, Caitlin and Jillian.

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