CLEARWATER - The change of command ceremony is a time honored tradition and formal ritual which transfers total responsibility, authority and accountability from one individual to another. Such a ceremony took place at United States Coast Guard Station Sand Key on Friday, June 30, when Chief Warrant Officer Randal L. Ryan exchanged salutes with outgoing officer in charge Master Chief Boatswain Mate Charleton W. Winter and assumed command of the facility located at 1275 Gulf Blvd.
Captain Joseph Servidio, commander, Coast Guard Sector St. Petersburg, addressed the some 150 persons in attendance. Captain Elisabeth Pepper, deputy commander, Coast Guard Sector St. Petersburg, was on hand for the event as was Master Chief Jeffrey Arndt, who served as commanding officer of Station Sand Key from 1997 to 2001.
CWO Ryan enlisted in the Coast Guard in August of 1986. The graduate of Boca Ciega High School in Pinellas County was Officer in Charge of Aids to Navigation Team Dulac in Louisiana before his most recent assignment as Assistant Operations Officer, MSST New Orleans. He has also served at USCG Station Cape May in New Jersey, USCG Station Ft. Myers Beach in Florida and USCG Station Fire Island in New York and completed tours of duty aboard the USCG Cutter Drummond out of Port Canaveral and the USCG Cutter Courageous out of Panama City Beach. The new commander of Station Sand Key is the recipient of three Coast Guard Commendation Medals with "O" device; three Coast Guard Achievement Medals with "O" device; Commandant's Letter of Commendation with "O" device; Coast Guard Unit Commendation Ribbon; three Coast Guard Meritorious Unit Commendation Ribbons; National Defense Service Medal; Coast Guard Special Operations Service Ribbon; and a number of other awards.
The new officer in charge will oversee the 45 active duty and 30 reserve members assigned to Station Sand Key as well as the 285 Coast Guard Auxiliarists from Division 11 who work with the station. The unit once known as Coast Guard Station Clearwater was established on January 29, 1975, and operated out of a houseboat moored at Island Estates for about 10 years before moving into its present headquarters on Sand Key.
During the reception which followed the change of command ceremony, BM1 Brock Felthoff presented Master Chief Winter with an inscribed paddle on behalf of the active duty personnel who had served under his command. Don Frasch, Coast Guard Auxiliary captain, Division 11, had a certificate of appreciation and gift for Winter from the flotillas in the division. The gift was a miniature brass sextant (an instrument used to determine latitude and longitude at sea by measuring angular distances).
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