Decorated Retired Coast Guard Vice Admiral Dies

Vice Adm. John P. Currier arrives after landing a Coast Guard helicopter
Vice Adm. John P. Currier arrives after landing a Coast Guard helicopter for the final time before being relieved as the ancient albatross by Rear Adm. John H. Korn, commander of the Coast Guard 7th District, during a change of watch ceremony at Air Station Traverse City, Michigan, June 4, 2014. (U.S. Coast Guard photo/Patrick Kelley)

TRAVERSE CITY -- Retired Coast Guard Vice Admiral John Currier, recipient of the prestigious Harmon International Aviation Trophy, died at his home in Traverse City on March 1.

Other winners of the Harmon Aviation Trophy include Charles Lindbergh, Lt. Gen. James Doolittle, Howard Hughes, Chuck Yeager and Edwin E. "Buzz" Aldrin.

"He was in fast company," said Traverse City's Mike Lehnert, who retired as a Major General after 37 years in the Marine Corps.

The Harmon International Aviation Trophy is not awarded every year.

Currier, who was the 28th Vice Commandant of the Coast Guard from May 2012 to May 2014, received the award in 1980.

Lehnert, who was on the board of the International Affairs Forum with Currier, said he was an extremely humble man about his time in the Coast Guard.

"I didn't know what he did (to win the award)," Lehnert said. "He never brought it up."

Prior to being named vice commandant, Currier commanded Coast Guard District 13 based in Seattle. He was commissioned in the U.S. Coast Guard in 1976 and was designated a Coast Guard Aviator in 1977.

According to his biography, Currier served at Coast Guard Air Stations in Cape Cod, Massachusetts and Sitka, Alaska. After he was designated an Aeronautical Engineer in 1982, he was the engineering officer at Coast Guard Air Stations in Traverse City and Astoria, Oregon.

His service biography also states Currier was Chief of Search and Rescue Operations and Director of Auxiliary for the Ninth District (Great Lakes) from 1998 through 2001, and commanded Air Station Miami from 2001 to 2003. He also served as Pacific Area Chief of Operations and as Area Chief of Staff.

Currier's 38-year career in the Coast Guard ended in 2014.

"He was a great man," Lehnert said. "He was a pure leader.

"He's the kind of person all of us strives to be and few of us ever are."

According to his LinkedIn page, Currier was the proprietor of JP Currier Consulting LLC, "a small veteran-owned company specializing in advice and counsel for management solutions concentrating on major systems acquisition projects, particularly in shipbuilding and aviation."

As decorated as his service career was, Lehnert said other aspects of his life were just as honorable. Lehnert is survived by his parents, his wife, Mary Jane, two sons and four grandchildren.

"They were an incredible team," Lehnert said of the John and Mary Jane after visiting with the family earlier in the day on Wednesday. "His whole family is one you would look to and say, 'That's the best America makes.'"

This article is written by Mark Urban from The Record-Eagle, Traverse City, Mich. and was legally licensed via the Tribune Content Agency through the NewsCred publisher network. Please direct all licensing questions to

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