“Admiral Al Herberger just might be the best friend our industry has ever known.”
With these words from MTD President Michael Sacco, the Maritime Port Council of Greater New York/New Jersey and Vicinity presented its Lifetime Achievement Award to the man who headed the U.S. Maritime Administration (MarAd) from 1993 to 1997 and ushered in the highly successful Maritime Security Program.
Besides Herberger, the PMC honored American Maritime Officers (AMO) President Paul Doell with its “Paul Hall Award of Merit” and U.S. Rep. John Garamendi (D-CA) with its “Government Man of the Year Award.”
A graduate of the U.S. Merchant Marine Academy, Herberger rose to the rank of vice admiral in the U.S. Navy and served as the first deputy commander of the U.S. Transportation Command (USTRANSCOM) during his 36 years of active duty.
Following his tenure at MarAd, he has worked to promote the U.S.-flag maritime industry.
Sacco told the more than 300 in attendance at the PMC’s 54th dinner-dance on June 25 in Manhattan that Herberger “is the reason we still have a U.S. Merchant Marine.
“He was the original designer and author of the Maritime Security Program. He’s the reason we have a Ready Reserve Force,’ Sacco added.
“And he didn’t stop there. Admiral Herberger established American-flag shipping policy through work with the White House National Security Council.”
After acknowledging the standing ovation, Herberger thanked “the organization for giving me this honor.”
He noted he had a lot of “friends and partners in this room.” He saluted his late wife Rosemary for all she had to do as a Navy wife while raising their four children. And he remembered the first head of USTRANSCOM, Air Force General Duane Cassidy (who passed away in February), for the work they did together.
Reflecting on his days at USTRANSCOM and MarAd, Herberger stated, “I thank you all for the support and partnership for all we were able to do.”
Doell told the gathering he was extremely honored for the council to link “my name to Paul Hall.”
Doell recalled the days when his father – a marine engineer – worked with Hall, Ray McKay and others to lay the foundation for what has become the AMO.
In noting Hall was the founder of the Maritime Trades Department, AFL-CIO, Doell added, “The MTD is the one true voice of maritime labor.”
He thanked his family for their support and called the award “the most meaningful recognition he has received.”
Seafarers Executive Vice President and MTD Executive Board Member Augie Tellez introduced Doell by recollecting on the AMO president’s 44 years of service to the union in many different capacities.
He said Doell has brought “stability to the union and brought back respect in the Capitol and in boardrooms. He has the union on the right track. It is together and united.”
Garamendi was unable to attend, but in his letter of acceptance he thanked the PMC for its award. He wrote, “The industry is more innovative than it’s ever been before, with technological breakthroughs leading to the construction of LNG-powered vessels that are raising the bar worldwide.”
He vowed to introduce legislation in Congress to require “up to 30 percent of exported U.S. crude oil and LNG travel on U.S.-flag vessels,” while expanding the Title XI Shipbuilding Loan Guarantee Program.
“Export of these strategic national energy assets should be used to strengthen our strategic national maritime assets – our mariners, shipyards and the companies and workers that provided value all up and down the supply chain here in America,” Garamendi declared.
PMC President Joe Soresi opened the dinner with a moment of silence for 33 crewmembers who were lost on the El Faro last October.
Soresi thanked both the labor and industry representatives attending the function, recalling how labor and business walked side-by-side in the halls of Congress earlier in the month to promote the U.S.-flag Merchant Marine during the annual Sail-In.
“Without you and your support, we’d all be out of business,” he pointed out.