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The United States Navy Memorial

Navy Memorial Honoring the Men & Women of the Sea Services

Lone Sailor Awards Dinner 2015

September 24, 2015
For information regarding the sponsorship of the 2016 Lone Sailor Awards Dinner, please contact:
Ph: 202-380-0714


The Lone Sailor Award is given to Sea Service veterans who have excelled with distinction in their respective careers during or after their service. The 2015 award recipients will join an impressive list of men and women who have distinguished themselves by drawing upon their military experience to become successful in their subsequent careers and lives, while exemplifying the core values of Honor, Courage and Commitment. Here are the 2015 honorees:

ADM James S. Gracey - Retired 17th Commandant of the United States Coast Guard

Admiral James S. Gracey served as the 17th Commandant for the United States Coast Guard from 1982 to 1986. He served in a number of flag officer assignments prior to becoming commandant including as commander of the Cleveland-based Ninth Coast Guard District with responsibility for the Great Lakes area; commander of the San Francisco-based 12th Coast Guard District and Pacific area with responsibility for the Pacific Ocean area; and commander of the Governors Island, New York-based 3rd Coast Guard District and Atlantic area with responsibility for the U.S. Eastern seaboard and Gulf Coast.

During his tour as commandant, Admiral Gracey maintained the service through difficult annual budget battles, successfully fought attempts to privatize U.S. Coast Guard functions and directed the Atlantic Strike Team to battle a Virginia fire, the largest in Coast Guard history. Under Admiral Gracey, the U.S. Coast Guard maintained its position as a national defense force supporting U.S. military operations that included the 1983 invasion of Grenada.

Admiral Gracey also directed the service during Operation Blue Lightening, a combined U.S. Coast Guard and Bahamian force which seized record amounts of illegal drugs. Other high profile operations included U.S. Coast Guard participation in the Challenger SAR case and the UNITAS program which strengthened the service’s ties with Caribbean nations. During his service, Admiral Gracey received the Secretary of Treasury Commendation for Achievement Ribbon, the Coast Guard Letter of Commendation, the Meritorious Service Medal and the Legion of Merit award as well as other honors. 

In addition to his military service, Admiral Gracey served as chairman of the Cleveland Federal Executive Board, chairman of the Great Lakes Basin Commission’s Standing Committee on Transportation and vice chairman of the Great Lakes and St. Lawrence Seaway Winter Navigation Board. 

Admiral Gracey graduated from the U.S Coast Guard Academy with a bachelor’s degree in engineering and a commission of ensign in 1949. In addition, he received a master’s degree in business administration from Harvard University. He currently resides in Arlington, Virginia.


J. William Middendorf II - Former Ambassador to The Netherlands, former secretary of the Navy, US Navy veteran

John William Middendorf II is a former Ambassador to the Netherlands, appointed by President Richard Nixon in 1969, Ambassador to Organization of American States and Ambassador to the European Union (then the E.C.). During his tour of duty as a Navy Secretary, he helped bring forward the Trident Submarine Program, the F-18 and AEGIS missile system, followed by the Arlie Burke class of destroyers. He is a veteran of World War II in the Pacific on a landing craft, as well as a founding Chairman of the US Navy Memorial. During his time as secretary of the Navy, Ambassador Middendorf oversaw the establishment of the General Dynamics facility at Quonset Point, now one of Rhode Island’s largest employers. As a former engineering officer, he visited over 300 ships’ engine rooms presenting each of them with “The Golden Snipe” award. Under his tour, he became a co-founder of the Marine Corps Marathon, where the winner receives the Middendorf Award. The capabilities of several of the major weapons systems, especially the Trident Submarine Program, and the AEGIS system, were created on his watch, which helped break the back of the Soviets at the peak of the Cold War in the late 1980s. Before becoming a public servant, Middendorf founded a major Wall Street firm, Middendorf Colgate and Co. and had a seat of the New York Stock Exchange.
In addition to his government and civic work, Ambassador Middendorf has authored two books, Glorious Disaster, Barry Goldwater’s Presidential Campaign and the Origins of the Conservative Movement and Potomac Fever: A Memoir of Politics and Public Service.
Ambassador Middendorf has also served in leadership positions on many boards of directors and councils including the Council of American Ambassadors, Chairman for 40 years of both the Defense Forum Foundation, and the Committee for Monetary Research and Education, one of America’s leading economic forums, the Heritage Foundation and the International Republican Institute. He is a proud member of the Rhode Island Society of the Sons of the Revolution, the Navy League National Advisory Council, the Naval Sea Cadet Board of Directors and the Navy League of the United States.
A prolific composer of music including symphonies, more than 100 marches, and the Holland Symphony he presented to Dutch Queen Juliana on the 25th anniversary of her ascension to the throne and performed by the Holland Symphony Orchestra before the Dutch national T.V.  Ambassador Middendorf has received the Edwin Franko Goldman Award from the American Bandmasters Association and is a member of the American Society of Composers and Performers. He has also received the Defense and Navy Distinguished Public Service Award (twice), the U.S. Olympic Committee Gold Shield Award and the State of New York’s Distinguished Patriot Award, as well as New York University’s Graduate of Business School Outstanding Alumnus Award. 
Middendorf has tried to engage in athletic pursuits wherever possible, having run 8 Marine Corps Marathons. He was also a member of the U.S. Field Hockey National Team, awarded National Masters Champion in Rowing, a longtime member of the U.S. Olympic Committee, and recipient of an offer to spring training as a pitcher for the New York Giants.
Ambassador Middendorf graduated from the College of the Holy Cross with a Bachelor’s degree in Naval Science after having served in World War II as an engineering officer and navigator aboard LCS 53. He earned a Bachelor of Arts degree from Harvard University and a master’s degree in business administration from the Stern School of Business at New York University. He currently resides in Little Compton, Rhode Island.

Robert S. Morrison - Retired Vice Chairman, PepsiCo; former chairman and CEO Quaker Oats, US Marine Corps

Robert S. Morrison retired as vice chairman of PepsiCo, Inc. in February 2003 after serving in that role since August 2001. Until the 2001 merger with PepsiCo, he led The Quaker Oats Company as chairman, president and chief executive officer. Previously in his career, Morrison served as the chairman and chief executive officer of Kraft Foods Inc.  Morrison joined Kraft in 1983 and served as the president of Kraft Refrigerated Products Group, president of Kraft General Foods Canada, and president of General Foods USA.
Morrison currently serves as a director of Illinois Tool Works Inc. and AON Corporation. He has served as a director of 3M and acted as interim chairman and CEO in 2005.  Morrison also served as a director of the Tribune Company.
Morrison is also a director and trustee for several civic and cultural organizations in Chicago including the Museum of Science and Industry, the Lyric Opera of Chicago, and Rush University Medical Center. He also serves as a trustee of the College of the Holy Cross in Worcester, MA and the Indian River Community Foundation in Vero Beach, FL.
Morrison served in the United States Marine Corps from 1963 to 1967, rising to the rank of captain.  He was awarded the Silver Star and Purple Heart for his service in Vietnam in 1965. He holds a bachelor's degree in English from the College of the Holy Cross, and an MBA from the Wharton Graduate School of Business at the University of Pennsylvania. Morrison and his wife, Susan, currently reside in Lake Forest, Illinois, a suburb of Chicago.  They have five children and eight grandchildren.

C. Michael Petters - President and CEO, Huntington Ingalls Industries, US Navy veteran

Mike Petters is president and CEO of Huntington Ingalls Industries, America's largest military shipbuilding company and a provider of manufacturing, engineering and management services to the commercial and non-commercial energy, oil and gas markets.
Petters previously served as president of Northrop Grumman Shipbuilding and as president of Northrop Grumman's Newport News sector. He joined Newport News Shipbuilding in 1987 in the Los Angeles-class submarine construction division. He held a number of positions of increasing responsibility throughout the organization including production supervisor for submarines, marketing manager for submarines and carriers, vice president of aircraft carrier programs, vice president of contracts and pricing, and vice president of human resources.
In 2014, Petters was elected to the executive committee of the Aerospace Industries Association. He serves on the Commonwealth of Virginia's Advisory Council on Revenue Estimates and as vice chairman of the Virginia Business Council. Petters also serves on the board of directors for the U.S. Naval Academy Foundation and the National Bureau of Asian Research; on the board of trustees of the Naval Aviation Museum Foundation; on the distinguished advisory board for the Dolphin Scholarship Foundation; and on the advisory council for the Naval Historical Foundation.
Petters is a United States Navy veteran having spent five years in the U.S. Naval Reserve serving aboard the nuclear-powered submarine USS George Bancroft (SSBN 643). He earned a bachelor's degree in physics from the U.S. Naval Academy and a master’s degree in business administration from the College of William and Mary in Williamsburg, Virginia. Petters currently resides in Newport News, Virginia. 

For a list of previous Lone Sailor Award recipients, click here

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