Office of Leadership (CG-128)

Contact the Office of Leadership

Commandant (CG-128)
U.S. Coast Guard
2703 Martin Luther King Jr. Ave. SE
Stop 7907
Washington, D.C. 20593-7907

Captain David H. Jarvis Inspirational Leadership Award

David Henry Jarvis was appointed to the Revenue Cutter Service in 1881, and served until his retirement as a captain in 1905. He spent the majority of his career in Alaska and the Bering Sea. His most famous adventure came during an expedition to save the men of a whaling fleet that had become trapped in the ice off Point Barrow, Alaska, during the winter of 1897-1898.

Jarvis, then a first-lieutenant, led a three-man rescue team consisting of Second-Lieutenant Ellsworth P. Bertholf and Dr. J. S. Call of the U. S. Public Health Service, with a herd of about 400 reindeer, across 1,500 miles of tundra and pack-ice to Point Barrow. They arrived after a journey of 99 days and thereby saved more than 300 men from starvation. They had completed the longest rescue mission ever undertaken in Coast Guard history. On 28 June 1902, Congress, in response to a request from President William McKinley to recognize officially what he called a "victory of peace," awarded Gold Medals of Honor to Jarvis and the other two members of what became known as the Overland Relief Expedition.

The Navy League annually presents the Jarvis award recognizing an outstanding Coast Guard officer. The awards are separate and distinct from the military decorations and awards program. The Captain David H. Jarvis Award for inspirational leadership is awarded to the Coast Guard Officer who has made outstanding contributions to the high standards of competence and leadership traditions in the Coast Guard.

  • 2020 Jarvis Inspirational Leadership Award Winner: LCDR Megan Drewniak

Eligibility Requirements

The guidelines are intentionally flexible and extend to all regular and reserve officers serving on active duty during the calendar year. Reserve officers serving on active duty over 30 days may be considered alongside regular active duty candidates; it is the command's discretion to determine whether it is reasonable for the reserve member to compete in either category. The Jarvis award is for regular active duty members only.

(1) Consistently demonstrate outstanding leadership skills which motivate and inspire personnel to strive for excellence and achieve measurable results that contribute to the success of the Coast Guard.

(2) Possess the ability to create and maintain a positive culture where the differences of all personnel are respected, so that all can achieve their full potential and maximize their contributions to Coast Guard missions.

(3) Act with strategic intent to ensure optimization of resources, influence the success of major operations or programs, and achieve operational excellence.

(4) Guided, coached, or mentored others to reach new levels of performance.

Recommendations: Commandant (CG-128) solicits nominations via ALCOAST message annually.

Specific Nomination Guidelines - Nomination Deadline: January 15, 2021

  • Commands submitting a nomination shall ensure that member is in compliance with the Coast Guard Weight and body Fat Standards Program Manual COMDTINST M1020.8 (Series).
  • All nominations must include the individuals rank, rate, time in service, time in grade, and time at unit or command.
  • Each nomination should be in standard memo format using Times New Roman (12 point) font with one inch margins, not to exceed three pages.
  • Nominations must be accompanied by a proposed citation along with sufficient background information to enable final selection of the recipients. Citations must be one-page, single or doubled spaced, landscape format, typed using Times New Roman (12 point font) with one inch margins and shall not exceed 15 lines.
  • Recommendations are to be forwarded through the chain of command and endorsed by the first Flag Officer or SES from their respective units and forwarded to Commandant (CG-128), Office of Leadership. HQ offices not within DCMS or DCO chain of command should forward nominations directly to Commandant (CG-128).
  • The nomination should identify specific examples and supporting information on how the nominee exemplifies each of the criteria established in section (a) by using action impact statements explaining how the member inspired others and influenced favorable outcomes. Note: Feedback from previous selection panels continues to stress that nominations should directly address leadership methodologies and climate rather than simply reporting accomplishments.
  • Scanned copies of signed nominations and endorsements shall be sent by email to Please save PDF under the naming convention: memberranklastname_nameofaward_ _year (for example: LCDRjones_jarvis_2018)
  • A selection panel will review the nominations and make recommendations to the Assistant Commandant for Human Resources (CG-1) for approval.



Presentation: Certificates and inscribed watches are presented at the annual National Navy League Convention. Commandant (CG-128) pays for the winners’ and their spouse’s transportation and the Navy League pays for accommodations and meals at the convention location.