The highest honor we can bestow upon a member of the CPOA is our Gold Lifetime Member Award. In August 1987, the Association bestowed this honor on “Bud” for his dedication, loyalty and devotion to the Organization. His hard work and dedication, during a crisis time, were instrumental in bringing the CPOA back to fiscal responsibility while on the brink of bankruptcy.
Bud first became active in the National CPOA in 1976 when he was invited to run for National Treasurer on a slate of candidates which included Glenn Lambert, Bill Schott, and Terry McCarthy. He had distinguished himself as an activist in the Governors Island Chapter and, when asked to join a slate of candidates running on a reform and reconstruction platform, did not hesitate to jump onboard. In the two years he served as treasurer, we went from a near defunct association, nearly $30,000 in debt, to basically what we are today. His part in this cannot be overstated. As Treasurer, he challenged every expenditure that was to be made, no matter how worthy, and approved or disapproved only after a thorough review was accomplished.
During these troubled times of rebuilding, many people worked ceaselessly as a team to get things done. It was not easy and certainly not everyone agreed. The National Council often had strong disagreements on priorities and procedures and as Treasurer, Bud sometimes took a strong stand on what we could and could not do. After all was said and done, and the vote taken, Bud always spoke in unison with the majority. His willingness and ability to work as a team member and to put personal feelings aside, served as an example for all of us to emulate. We were lucky to have him.
Bud started his military career with a 4 year stint in the US Navy but found the CG more to his liking. He enlisted in the USCG in April 1958 to start his 30 year CG career serving at Base St. Louis and then on to ET School at Groton, CT. After graduation, he was assigned to the Repair Shop, Base Wood Hole, MA; LORAN Station, Estartit, Spain; Mobile, AL; CG Base, St. Petersburg; LORAN Station, Naulo Point, Philippines; LORAN Station, Fally Beach, SC; LORAN Station, Sattahike, Thailand; Base New Orleans; LORAN Station, Bermuda; and finally Training Center, Governors Island, NY.
In 1978, he retired from the CG and moved to Florida where he started work as a long distance truck driver for North American Van Lines. His employment with North American Van Lines terminated when he suffered a heart attack. He then went to work for the National Education Corporation at Tampa Technical Institute teaching electronics, computer engineering and technology. In March 1992, medical disabilities forced him to terminate all employment and he then stayed at home playing with and thoroughly enjoying his grandchildren.
Bud passed away on 13 March 1997, at age 63, leaving behind his wife Joyce, a daughter, a son, a daughter in law, and 3 grandchildren. As he had requested, his ashes were scattered at sea.
QMC Frank Albright, USCG, Retired, represented the National Council at the ceremony.
ETCM T. Lackey
I know a Chief:
Who easily passed on his experiences, skills, and knowledge to anyone who wanted to listen, he was a natural teacher.
Who was the master of the understatement. He could say something with a straight face that would bring everyone to their knees with laughter. Then he would smile, just a little devilish smile, a smirk sort of, and take a drag off a Camel. That would just make everyone laugh even more.
Who was stern in his expectations; make the grade or hit the road. He was patient if he knew you were trying. He was very short if he thought you were not.
Who seldom raised his voice. He didn’t need to. You learned quickly when he was angry. He didn’t need to shout, his look was enough.
Who had heart. He felt a deep sense of belonging, a sincere care for the welfare of Coasties, especially enlisted people. In return, he demanded that we give our all and accept responsibilities; to be what we could be so that we would make the Coast Guard the best.
“Ask the Chief” is a household word in and out of the Coast Guard. More will be expected of you, more will be demanded of you, not because you have merely been advanced one pay grade, but because you have now been advanced to Chief. Bud Ford was a Chief.
Who believed in the Chief Petty Officer and the Chiefs Corps. He believed in the camaraderie and fraternity of the Chief Petty Officers Association. He was an influence, a driver, and even saved it from dying one time.
Who believed the Chiefs, through bonding and working together, not only made the Coast Guard better by getting the job done, but made the Chiefs better able to take care of the enlisted people.
For over 27 years, he dedicated his life to the Coast Guard.
I know a man who is a Chief in every sense of the word, who is at the same time like an older brother looking out for me and my mentor, teaching me how to be a Chief. He is a friend, a comrade, a counselor, a confidant. He is a stern task master and a great teacher.
At age 63 years, you, Bud Ford, have made the final voyage, one which we must take. He has left us behind. I will miss his counsel. However, he has given me a great deal that I live everyday.
I know Bud Ford. Now you know him as I do.