Two of Kodiak’s floating Coast Guard units will have new commanding officers today.
Both the Cutter SPAR and the Cutter Munro have change of commands scheduled. The SPAR’s is set for 11 a.m. on the cutter, and the Munro will host its at 2:00 in the base gym.
On the Spar, Lieutenant Commander Michele Schallip will relieve Lieutenant Commander Keith Ropella as commanding officer of the SPAR.
Ropella has commanded the SPAR since July 2008. Ropella’s next assignment will be at the Ninth Coast Guard District Waterways Management Branch in Cleveland.
Schallip is arriving from Coast Guard Headquarters in Washington D.C. where she was chief of the executive staff for the Assistant Commandant for Marine Safety, Security, and Stewardship.
As for the Cutter Munro, Captain Mark Cawthorn will relieve Captain Matthew Bell who has commanded the Munro since July 2009. Bell’s next assignment will be as the chief of response, Eleventh Coast Guard District, in Alameda, California.
Cawthorn is arriving from Coast Guard Headquarters in Washington. His prior career assignments include tours aboard the cutters Ute, Pegasus and Thetis in Key West, Florida.
The Change of Command is a time-honored tradition in the military that provides for everyone on-board the unit to witness the official transfer of responsibility and the official transfer of power to the new person at the head of the chain-of-command.
The key point in the ceremony is when – following long-held tradition – both officers read their orders, face one another, salute, and transfer responsibility for the command.