Air Station Atlantic City to Hold Change of Command Ceremony

ATLANTIC CITY, N.J. – U.S. Coast Guard Air Station Atlantic City is scheduled to have a change of command ceremony at Coast Guard Air Station Atlantic City in Pomona, N.J., Friday at 11 a.m. During the ceremony, Capt. Nick Bartolotta will assume the responsibilities of the commanding officer from Capt. Paul Ratte.

Bartolotta will relieve Ratte as the commanding officer during a change of command ceremony, which is a time-honored event preserved by rich heritage of naval tradition. It is a formal custom that is designed to strengthen the respect of authority, which is vital to any military organization. The climax of the ceremony is reached when both members read their orders, face one another, salute and transfer responsibility of the command. This also provides the entire unit with the knowledge that the member directed by proper authority is taking command and is an opportunity to witness this transfer of responsibility.

Bartolotta graduated from the Coast Guard Academy in 1989 with a Bachelors Degree in Marine Engineering and Naval Architecture. Upon commissioning, his first assignment as an ensign was aboard the Coast Guard Cutter Tampa in Portsmouth, Va. In 1991 he reported to Naval Air Station Pensacola, Fla., and upon graduation was assigned to Coast Guard Air Station Savannah, Ga. After completing his first tour, he was selected to be a HH-65 Dolphin instructor pilot and command flight safety officer at Coast Guard Air Station New Orleans, La. In June 2000, he transferred to Coast Guard Headquarters in Washington D.C. and was assigned to the Office of Aviation Forces as the Dolphin platform manager, responsible for operations and upgrades to all 98 of the Coast Guard’s Dolphin helicopter inventory. After his tour was completed at Coast Guard Headquarters, Bartolotta returned to the aviation community in 2004 when he was assigned as the operations officer and re-designated as an instructor pilot at Coast Guard Air Station Detroit, Mich. In June 2007, he returned to Savannah, this time serving as executive officer at Air Station Savannah, Ga., and completed his Masters of Science in Aviation Safety Management. Bartolotta has received multiple Meritorious Service Medals, Commendation Medals, Achievement Medals and other personal and unit awards.

Bartolotta is originally from Hauppauge, N.Y. He married the former Mary Cameron of Carmel, Ind., in 1995 and they have two children; Patrick, 11 and Madeline, 9.

Ratte has served as the commanding officer of the air station since Aug. 17, 2007.

Ratte is a 1984 graduate of the United States Coast Guard Academy. Following a deck watch officer tour aboard the CGC Alert, he attended naval flight training and was designated a Coast Guard aviator in 1987. He flew the HH-3F Pelican helicopter at Air Stations Cape Cod, Mass., and Kodiak, Ak., before transitioning to the HH-60J Jayhawk. Following a tour as a Jayhawk instructor pilot at Aviation Training Center, Mobile, Ala., he returned to Air Station Kodiak. He was twice awarded the Distinguished Flying Cross for night rescues in severe weather that saved seven lives. He served as operations officer at the Coast Guard’s largest Air Station in Clearwater, Fla., where he directed the use of 18 aircraft throughout the southeast United States and the Caribbean basin. Following the September 2001 terrorist attacks, he helped develop new tactics to aerially deliver Coast Guard security boarding teams to underway ships by helicopter hoist. He commanded Air Station Traverse City, Mich., from 2003 to 2005, where he oversaw Coast Guard helicopter operations in the northern Midwest including Lakes Michigan, Superior and Huron. There, he also qualified as aircraft commander in his third type of helicopter, the Dolphin. During his next tour, as Chief of Pacific Area Operational Plans and Force Readiness, he helped shape maritime homeland security policies and increased Coast Guard partnership with the maritime services of other Pacific Rim nations.

Ratte holds a Bachelor of Science in Electrical Engineering from the US Coast Guard Academy and a Master of Business Administration from Spring Hill College in Mobile, Ala. In addition to his Distinguished Flying Crosses, his military awards include three Meritorious Service Medals, the Air Medal, two Coast Guard Achievement Medals, and several other personal and unit awards.

Ratte is originally from Springfield, Mass. He is married to Barbara Jo, they are the proud parents of Ali, 19, Lynn, 17, Mitch and Steve, 14.

Ratte is retiring after the ceremony.

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