3 Coast Guard cutters hold unique change of command in Portsmouth

Master Chief Petty Officers Lombard and Jones share a laugh during their change of command ceremony June 25, 2015, at Base Portsmouth. The ceremony was held for three changes of command for the cutters Shearwater, Cochito and Seahorse. (U.S. Coast Guard photograph by PA3 Joshua L. Canup)

Master Chief Petty Officers Lombard and Jones share a laugh during their change of command ceremony June 25, 2015, at Base Portsmouth. The ceremony was held for three changes of command for the cutters Shearwater, Cochito and Seahorse. (U.S. Coast Guard photograph by PA3 Joshua L. Canup)

PORTSMOUTH, Va. — Three Coast Guard cutter crews officially changed commands Thursday during a ceremony in Portsmouth at Coast Guard Sector Hampton Roads.

The crews of Coast Guard Cutters Shearwater, Sea Horse and Cochito, 87-foot Coastal Patrol Boats homeported in Hampton Roads, bid farewell to departing officers-in-charge and welcomed aboard the incoming, during the unique, triple change-of-command ceremony.

Master Chief Petty Officer Stephen Atchley was relieved as officer-in-charge of the Coast Guard Cutter Shearwater by Senior Chief Joseph Orlando. Atchley assumed command of the Coast Guard Cutter Cochito, replacing Master Chief Petty Officer Christopher Lombard.

Master Chief Petty Officer Heath Jones was relieved as officer-in-charge of the Coast Guard Cutter Sea Horse by Lombard. Jones will go on to work as the command master chief for Sector Hampton Roads.

The change-of-command ceremony marks the formal passing of responsibility, authority and accountability of command from one Coast Guardsman to another. It is a time-honored tradition formally restating the continuity of command.

This unique ceremony, incorporating three command changes into one event, was held at the request of the outgoing and incoming officers-in-charge and granted by the Sector Hampton Roads command.

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