By Ron VandenBoom
A reading of orders, hand salutes, and request to fulfill their orders, keynoted the solemn and time-honored Change of Command Ceremony Friday at the Havre National Guard Armory.
Petty Officer First Class Bradley S. Lantz relinquished command of Havres LORAN-C Station to Chief Petty Officer Greg J. Hejl.
In his keynote address, Commander William Wiedenhoeft, commander of Aids to Navigation for District 13, referred to the Change of Command Ceremony as one of the most significant military ceremonies.
Because its a total transfer of control and authority from one officer in charge to another,he said. Its a very emotional moment when you hear the words I relieve you sir.
He referred to the officer-in-charge as having a tremendous responsibility charged with a duty to be a leader of men so they can deliver the best that is possible for the American public.
He added that they are challenged to oriented toward prevention, to fully evaluate risk, and ready to respond to emergencies.
Wiedenhoeft praised the performance of Lantz and the crew of the Havre station. The navigation signal emitted by LORAN Station Havre has set the standard for signal reliability with an average of less than five-minutes per month of unusable signal.
Even by stringent Coast Guard standards, he said.
Wiedenhoeft told the crowd the U.S. Coast Guard today is about the same size as the New York City Police Department, but the scope of the Coast Guard keeps on growing.
He cited life-saving efforts, drug interdiction, and protection of American ships and waterways, as responsibilities of the Guard and examples of the important work they do.If youre living in the United States today, your daily life is impacted by the Coast Guard, he said. The Coast Guard has a major role in assuring the national defense and the safety of our harbors and rivers. So our mission is more important than ever.
Lantz was formally recognized for his contribution to the success of LORAN-C Station and awarded the Coast Guard Commendation Medal.
Lantz was also recognized with a promotion to Chief Petty Officer.
Hejl referred to the promotion to Chief Petty Officer as a major step and said it was not something to be taken lightly.
Its assuming responsibilities for a lot of people underneath you,he said.
Hejl removed a Chief Petty Officer insignia from his collar and, in a ceremony known as a frocking, pinned the new insignia on Lantz.
It shows camaraderie and a special bond between chiefs, Hejl said. Its a recognition that they are a chief first and whatever their area of expertise is second.
Lantz is being transferred to a LORAN station near Moses Lake, Wash., and said after the ceremonies that he is sad to leave Havre.
Its been a good place to live the last couple of years, he said. Ive had a lot of friends and its a good place to be.
Hejl, who comes to Havre from Portage, Mich., said he is really looking foreword to the move to Havre.
This is an opportunity Id waited for my whole career, he said. All of the people Ive met so far have been nice.
He said he and his family came to Havre in April for a visit and they were impressed with the community of Havre.
His wife, Eileen, and their three children, Alan, Jacqueline and Nathan, will be moving to Havre in August.