AOS-USA: The Professional Association of Catholic Seafarers & Maritime Ministers

Apostleship of the Sea of the United States of America



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2020-2021 AOS-USA - Administrative Board

President: Capt. George McShea, Jr.

Upon graduation from the U.S. Merchant Marine Academy at Kings Point, NY Captain McShea sailed for 20 years on US Flag tankers, including 12 years as Master. In 1989 George came ashore as Operations Manager for American Maritime Transport – a three ship US Flag company operating in world-wide trade. He became Director of the Port of Portland Oregon shipyard in 1993, where he led the yard through a privatization effort to a private ship repair contractor in 1996 and then moved to ARCO Marine as Operations Manager. At ARCO Marine George eventually progressed to Vice President, Operations, then through a series of corporate mergers moved to the position of President, Polar Tankers, Inc., a premier US Flag tanker company operating from Valdez, AK to the US West Coast, and a subsidiary of ConocoPhillips. For ConocoPhillips George served as the Marine Manager – Transportation from 2006 until his retirement in October 2011.

He is a member of the US Federal Academy nominations Review Board for Congressman Lloyd Smucker of Pennsylvania’s 11th Congressional district, and represents the Academy at many High School and congressional recruitment events.

In July 2013, George was elected President of the Administrative Board for the Apostleship of the Sea – USA. He is a long-time member of the Nautical Institute and the Council of American Master Mariners.

Vice President: Fr. William E. Reynolds, JCL

Father Bill Reynolds, JCL, is a Retired priest in the Diocese of Davenport Iowa. He has served as Vice-president since 2013. He is a cruise ship priest member and has served as the national secretary of AOS-USA from 2006 - 2013. In 1988 he received a License in Canon Law (JCL), summa cum laude from the Pontifical University of St. Thomas Aquinas in Rome He has served in tribunal ministry part-time since he returned from Rome For the past twenty-five years he has been an officer of the Priests' Aid Society, which provides a retirement benefit for priests of the Diocese of Davenport. He is now the Vice-President of the PAS. On July 1, 2014 he became the state Chaplain of the Knights of Columbus for Iowa.

Secretary: Fr. Schute

Fr. Schute 

Treasurer: Deacon Patrick LaPoint

Deacon LaPoint is a married permanent deacon of the Diocese of Lake Charles, La. He currently serves as Director of the Stella Maris Seafarers Center of Lake Charles for the Diocese for the past 15 years and is assigned to Our Lady of Prompt Succor Catholic Church in Sulphur, La. as the deacon of the parish. He has been married to Sandra LaPoint for the past 31 years. They have 5 children, 7 grandchildren and 2 great grandchildren. He currently serves as the Port Chaplain Board Member of the Apostleship of the Sea – USA. He is a third degree knight of the Knights of Columbus Council 3015 in Sulphur, La. Currently he is serving as treasure of AOS-USA and the National advisor to the USCCB, Committee, Secretariat of Cultural Diversity in the Church

He has served in the past as:

Past treasurer AOS-USA 6 years

Past Vice President AOS-USA 2 years

Past treasurer of the Propeller Club, Port of Southwest La.

Served in the US Navy for 4 years.

Cruise Ship Priest Rep. Board Member: Fr. Gary Padgett

Father Gary Padgett is a priest of the Archdiocese of Louisville. He was ordained on June 5, 1999. Prior to ordination, Fr. Gary received his B.A. from Morehead State University where he majored in Speech and Journalism and minored in English. He competed all four years of college on the debate team. He spent two years at the University of Alabama working on a M.A. in Rhetoric and Speech Communication and served as an Assistant Coach for the debate team. Instead of finishing the M.A. he returned to Kentucky and one year later enrolled in law school at the University of Louisville. He earned his J.D. (Juris Doctor) in 1983 and passed the Kentucky Bar Examination and was sworn into the Kentucky Bar Association where he remains a member in good standing. He worked for 11 years at the United States Department of Justice. He served as Administrative Officer for the U.S. Attorney’s Office in Louisville for five years before transferring to the Executive Office for U.S. Attorneys in Washington, DC where he served as a Management Analyst until he left in 1994 for the seminary. Fr. Gary enrolled at St. Meinrad School of Theology where he earned an M.A. degree in 1996 and the M.Div. degree in 1999. He currently serves as Pastor at St. Brigid Church and St. James Church in Louisville, Kentucky. He has been a member of Apostleship of the Sea of the USA since 2012 and has served as a cruise ship priest on seventeen Holland America cruises. He is also Faithful Friar for Knights of Columbus and Chaplain for Knights of Columbus Council. Fr. Gary currently is serving his second term on the Priest Council for the Archdiocese of Louisville and is in his first term as Cruise Ship Priest representative for AOS-USA.

Fishers Board Rep. Member: Capt. Pietro Parravano

Pietro Parravano currently serves as the President of the Institute for Fisheries Resources (IFR) in San Francisco. IFR is a strong advocate for sustainable fisheries representing its members of fishing women and men. The organization is responsible for supporting fishery research and policy initiatives at the regional, national and international venues. As a member of the Pew National Ocean Commission, he co-authored a report for a national ocean policy and sustainable fisheries that was submitted to Congress. He remains active in promoting these recommendations for sustainable fisheries and advocating for a national ocean policy as a member of the Joint Oceans Commission Initiative. He is a founding member of the San Mateo County Food System Alliance. He has received numerous awards from all levels of government and community organizations for his advocacy of sustainable fishing. He received his master’s degree in biology from Eastern Michigan University. After completing graduate school, he taught science and mathematics at Woodside Priory School in Portola Valley, CA. He spent many years as a commercial fisherman fishing for salmon and Dungeness crab. He lives in Half Moon Bay, CA.

Merchant Mariner Board Member: Capt. Gerard "Jerry" Pannell

Captain Pannell is a native of Long Island, New York. He received his Bachelor of Science in Marine Transportation Management from the State university of New York's Maritime College at Fort Schuyler and completed graduate studies in Environmental Compliance from Massachusetts Marine Academy.

Captain Pannell's sailing career includes 13 years as Master on Commercial deep draft oil tankers and military cargo vessels in the international trades. He came ashore full-time in 2007 at the American Maritime Officers Simulation, Training, Assessment and Research (STAR) Center in Dania Beach FL,. as the Director of Member Training and Officer Development. In this position he ensures the 4000 USCG licensed deck and engine officers of American Officers continue to receive the highest level training and professional development that meets regulatory, contracted company and industry requirements.

Port Chaplain Rep. Board Member: Rev. Mr. Milton Vega

Deacon Milton Vega is a married permanent deacon of the Diocese of Saint Augustine, Fl. He has been the Director of the Apostleship of the Sea Ministry of the Diocese of St. Augustine since December 2014 and is assigned to the Most Holy Redeemer Catholic Church in Jacksonville where he has served since his diaconate installation in December of 2015. He currently serves as the Port Chaplain Representative for AOS-USA. Married to Elia L. Vega for 47 years and has two sons, ages 46 and 40. His oldest son is married and has a son and a daughter. His youngest son has mild autism caused by Asperger syndrome, so he still lives at home with his parents. Deacon Milton is bilingual and is completely fluent in English and Spanish. He holds an associate degree in Business Administration, a bachelor’s degree in Computer Information Management and is enrolled in a Master of Arts in Pastoral Studies program in the Pontifical College Josephinum, with an expected completion by the summer of 2021. He is a fourth degree Knight of the Knights of Columbus organization, an RCIA program coordinator and promoter of the RCIA (RICA) program for Spanish speaking parishioners across the diocese, a Parish Stewardship coordinator, and an ALPHA program / adult faith formation coordinator for his parish.

Recreational Boaters/Yachtsman Board Rep. Member: William H. Watson 

Maritime Security & Intelligence Consultant -Washington, DC

William Hughes Watson has an extensive and diverse background in the maritime industry. Will serves on the Administrative Board of the Apostleship of the Sea of the United States of America (AOS-USA), representing the yachting and recreational vessel sector. He is also vice president and governor of the Maritime Security Council, where he has been active for over a decade. Additionally, serves on the advisory boards of American Ports Caucus Institute and the National Maritime Law Enforcement Academy. A maritime consultant, based in Washington, DC, where he works with ports, terminals, shipping owners and operators and the offshore industry worldwide on safety, security and environmental compliance issues. Will participates in the National Maritime Intelligence Group (NIAG); is the maritime representative to the National Council of ISACs (Information Sharing & Analysis Centers); and is presently working to reform the Maritime Sector Coordinating Council to liaise with the Maritime Government Coordinating Council under auspices of the National Infrastructure Protection Plan (NIPP) and Presidential Policy Directive (PPD) 21. He is also active in both the Council of American Master Mariners (Baltimore – Washington Chapter) and the Propeller Club of the United States (Washington, DC Port). With experience as a maritime journalist, a communications and security leader within one of the world’s leading flag States and now as a senior advisor and consultant, Will brings a wealth of experience and knowledge to each project with which he’s tasked. Because of the breadth of his experience, Will has been interviewed by numerous newspapers, magazines and radio and television stations as well as by both Fox News Channel and CNN. He has also lectured at the International Maritime Law Institute in Malta, the U.S. Merchant Marine Academy / Global Maritime And Transportation School (GMATS), the Maritime Institute of Technology and Graduate Studies (MITAGS) and at in-service training sessions for both the Naval Criminal Investigative Service (NCIS) and the Office of Naval Intelligence (ONI). Will has served as a delegate to both the United Nations (Contact Group on Piracy off the Coast of Somalia / CGPCS) and to the International Maritime Organization (IMO) and was a charter member of the Working Group for the Oceans Beyond Piracy project, sponsored by the One Earth Future Foundation. He recently chaired a Lloyd’s Maritime Academy conference and has been keynote speaker at numerous maritime conferences and events. He is a regular speaker and moderator at Homeland Security Outlook sponsored conferences. Will is a 4th Degree Knight of Columbus; holds the Major and Patriotic (Tower) Degree in the Ancient Order of Hibernians; and serves on the Red Mass Committee of the John Carroll Society.

Contact information: William H. Watson P.O. Box 64, White Post, VA 22663; Phone: +; Email: