Munro docked at base. Kayla Desroches/KMXT
A Change of Command Ceremony took place at the Coast Guard base Friday as one captain handed responsibility of the Coast Guard Cutter Munro to his successor. According to Vice Admiral Charles Ray, who spoke at the proceedings, the ceremony is a long-standing tradition in the transfer of leadership.
“And the reason leadership is so important especially, probably no more so than in our coast guard than right here in this area, when you are leading a crew of folks alone and unafraid in the Bering Sea or in the far reaches of the Pacific Ocean where there is no help but what you have on your ship, it is leadership that will make the difference and carry the day,” says Ray.
During the event, Captain Jeff Thomas passed his command of the Munro to Captain Sam Jordan. Both men’s families were present as were the members of the crew, who stood at either side of the room in the base’s Golden Anchor building.
Captain Thomas addressed members of the crew in his speech and later said leaving Munro was bittersweet. He says he spent two years on board the Munro and that it takes around 6 to 8 months to win over a crew.
“You have to be able to articulate your vision and make that part of what they believe and they see the importance of why we’re trying to go a certain way,” says Thomas. “And then you sometimes have some people who don’t want to go along – I guess is the best words – and until you can win their hearts and minds and show them the value of what’s in it for them, what’s in it for the ship, what’s in it for the nation, then it makes it a whole lot easier.”
New Munro commanding officer, Captain Jordan, says the ship is his fourth command and says he’s excited about his new position.
“It’s something I’ve been looking forward to since I left Kodiak in 2010 after working at the base for three years, so I knew what I was getting into,” says Jordan. “It was where I wanted to go. I was actually on the pier in 2007 when Munro moved up here from Alameda and I can remember standing there going “You know, I would like to be the captain of that ship someday.”
As for Captain Thomas, he says he’s heading to a district staff level position where he’ll be championing six operational commanders and making sure they have the resources they need. He says he’s previously only worked in headquarters level staff, and so it’ll be a new experience. He also says the position will bring him closer to his family in Virginia.