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    Coast Guard son fulfills father’s wish

    Coast Guard son joins father with Sons of the American Revolution dual membership

    Courtesy Photo | Coast Guard Capt. Patrick A. Culver and his father Charles Culver display their...... read more read more

    Have you ever thought about starting a new family tradition? How about forging a link to the past that spans generations and incorporates military service and patriotism into the fold, or even one that traverses the birth of a republic?

    Meet Coast Guard Capt. Patrick A. Culver, a commissioned officer whose personal career began more than 41 years ago. Culver enlisted in the Coast Guard even before the quartermaster rating, his eventual specialty, which was later split into the boatswain’s mate and operations specialist ratings. He worked his way up from enlisted crew member to chief warrant officer to commissioned officer, all by utilizing his intelligence, strong work ethic and devotion to duty.

    Culver is currently assigned to Joint Interagency Task Force – South, where he serves as the Coast Guard liaison on behalf of the Coast Guard Atlantic Area Command and acts as the link between the afloat and aviation units there.

    “Title 10, U.S. Code 124 authorizes JIATF - South to do detection and monitoring for aerial or maritime drugs, contraband, bound for the U.S.,” said Culver. “Joint Interagency Task Force - South is a sub-element of U.S. Southern Command, which is an Army command.”

    Two and a half years ago, Culver was selected as the 16th Gold Ancient Mariner of the Coast Guard.

    According to a May 2020 Coast Guard announcement, “The Ancient Mariner title recognizes the officer and enlisted person with the earliest designation as a permanent cutterman and requires a minimum of ten years of sea time. The award recipients must personify and uphold the core values of honor, respect and devotion to duty, along with the professionalism and leadership associated with long service at sea.”

    Culver currently holds 13 and 3/4 years of sea time, and is the longest-serving, active-duty member in the United States Coast Guard. His family’s ties to the military and nation, however, chart back further still.

    The Culver family can trace their lineage to a markedly high number of service members through the centuries to a time before the United States of America existed. It had not yet become a recognized and independent country when Culver’s great, great, great, great grandfather, James Taggart, Sr., of Antrim, Ireland, and his family made the journey shared by many who were looking for a better life. In the middle of the 18th century, Taggart, Sr., his wife and young son, also named James, crossed the Atlantic Ocean and took up residence in what is now Pennsylvania. He and his wife would have three more sons born in America, and years later, all four, including a grown-up Taggart, Jr., would fight for the fledgling nation’s independence in the American Revolution.

    “The reason they left Ireland was because they were Catholic. In Ireland, in 1748, a significant event occurred…the famine,” said Culver. “And, they were in Northern Ireland, which is Protestant…being Catholic, you couldn’t work, eat, you couldn’t practice your religion and you couldn’t speak your language. And like many Irish, they emigrated instead of dying,” he said.

    Culver and his father, Charles Culver, were inducted into the National Society of the Sons of the American Revolution on Sept. 8, 2022. The SAR’s purpose is defined on its website as ‘a non-profit, non-partisan organization dedicated to promoting patriotism, preserving American history and teaching American history to future generations.’

    According to Culver, the proceeding all started about thirty years ago. His father Charles, who spent time as a U.S. Navy reservist before a medical discharge, set the process in motion after his cousin Kathy Taggart Ferguson presented research that she had completed on their shared family genealogy.

    Culver said Ferguson made a startling connection. Culver, his father, and their cousin Ferguson are all directly related through blood lineage to a family member who fought in the American Revolution: James Taggart, Jr., born in 1748 in Antrim, Ireland. Culver said after that discovery, his father wanted to join the Sons of the American Revolution.

    Culver recalled seeing the paperwork go unfinished. With his 90-year-old father reaching his golden years and his mother recently passing, Culver decided to take on the passion project himself out of his deep love for his father.

    “I saw it sitting in a heap on my dad’s table, on one of his worktables, for thirty years,” he said. “And finally, I thought, I’m going to do this.”

    He picked up the research where Ferguson’s ended. Culver holds a master’s degree in government. And his bachelor’s degree is in criminology with a minor in history. A historian at heart, Culver is also a proud member of the Phi Alpha Theta (ΦΑΘ) National Honor Society. Their website states that it is “an American honor society for undergraduate and graduate students and professors of history.” And, luckily, Culver was up to taking on the research project, noting his love of history.

    Culver reached out to the SAR registrar and began working with an archivist in Louisville, Kentucky, to authenticate his research and begin linking his father and himself to their forefather from Ireland.

    “I had done all the work, pretty much, he just verified it,” said Culver.

    After Culver and Ferguson’s genealogy research was corroborated with official public records and certified, a long-held dream was realized when they were selected as father and son for membership during a ceremony held in their hometown of Richmond, Virginia. Culver’s father was asked how it felt to have finally earned official SAR certificates together with his son.

    “There’s a sense of accomplishment and pride as my eyesight has failed and my son took the lead on getting this done for me,” said Charles. “It lets me leave a legacy, a heritage of service for my family.”

    The direct link to James Taggart, Jr. alone was enough to qualify for their membership. According to the website, membership in the SAR hinges upon whether the patriot in question can prove their ancestor fulfills criteria in one of 14 types of service. Culver and his father successfully confirmed their ancestor participated in the following category: “Served in the military or navy, including service during the dates falling on or between 19 April 1775 and 26 November 1783, service at the Battle of Point Pleasant on 10 October 1774 (this location and date only), or furnishing a substitute for military service.”

    Impressively, not only did the Culver family descend from a patriot of the American Revolution, but U.S. military service is sprinkled so frequently throughout their genealogy that one could consider it a family habit – the good kind that you do not want to kick. Culver is also related to personnel who fought in the U.S. Civil War. His great uncle Robert Culver was an interpreter in World War I.

    “He spoke, read and wrote Latin, French, Italian, German and English and he served with the Maguire Field Hospital in France as part of the Expeditionary Forces in the U.S. Army,” said Culver. “My great uncle Lt. Maurice Sweeny served in the Marines in World War I as an aviator and balloonist, and later in World War II as a Coast Guard officer aboard a munitions ship during the invasion of Okinawa.”

    Culver’s uncle James Garnett served in the Navy during the Vietnam War but did not see action. Culver himself served in Haiti in 1994 and 1995 and earned the Armed Forces Expeditionary Medal.

    “He served for 30-plus years and retired as a colonel over in the Philippines,” said Culver. His wife, Grace Viola Culver did not want to stay in the Philippines, moved back to the States and had an affair, which became somewhat of an international scandal, he said. She ended up losing custody of their children, Culver’s grandfather and great-uncle.

    The name change was found to be linked to Culver’s great-grandfather Elmore Findley Taggart. He joined the U.S. Army and graduated from the Military Academy at West Point, Class of 1883, before serving during the Philippine-American War.

    “I would like to say goodbye to them one last time,” she said. She took them out, put them in her car, and absconded to Europe and changed the name to Culver instead of Taggart.

    Culver said an interesting piece of trivia about Taggart during his retirement years in the Philippines is he was instrumental in helping start the Philippine Military Academy in Baguio, which was modeled after West Point. He once was the vice-mayor of the town in retirement.

    The Culver-Taggart family name has contributed to the defense of America since its inception up through its continued safeguarding today. Reaching the milestone of SAR membership isn’t simply a way of looking backward for the Culvers.

    “I’m glad it’s done and happy to leave this path so that our future generations may follow,” said Charles Culver.

    And that path is underfoot again by a fresh set of boots by Culver’s nephew, Charles’ grandson, Lucas Culver, who is a 2012 graduate of the U.S. Naval Academy and is currently studying as a marine major at the Air War College in Alabama.

    If you think you would like to kick off a new tradition and start your family of service, Culver highly recommends it. In fact, he points out that the Coast Guard offers many benefits not afforded to the same degree as fellow military branches.

    “The opportunities that we give you, eleven statutory missions: if you raise your hand and you can do the job, the reward for hard work is more hard work,” said Culver. “But we are going to throw that opportunity at you. Other services, unless you are a special operator or you are an aviator, they rarely throw as much responsibility at a young person as the Coast Guard does.”

    Culver said those opportunities for early-career growth and meaningful responsibility are what make the Coast Guard unique. After realizing a family goal of such magnitude and history, Culver relates it to humility and pride in serving others.

    “The idea of service is very real to my family,” said Culver. “I’m from a direct line of patriots who have served this country, and I’m very proud of that.”

    For more information on the National Society of the Sons of the American Revolution, you can visit their website at:




    Date Taken: 04.27.2023
    Date Posted: 04.27.2023 15:50
    Story ID: 443525
    Location: US

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