Change of watch scheduled for Master Chief Petty Officer of the Coast Guard

WASHINGTON – A change of watch ceremony is scheduled for the Master Chief Petty Officer of the Coast Guard at Coast Guard Training Center Cape May in Cape May, N.J. this afternoon. During the ceremony, Master Chief Petty Officer Michael P. Leavitt will assume the responsibilities of the eleventh Master Chief Petty Officer of the Coast Guard from Master Chief Petty Officer Charles W. Bowen.

Coast Guard Commandant Adm. Thad Allen will preside over the ceremony.

Leavitt’s previous assignment was as Senior Enlisted Advisor to the Deputy Commandant for Operations at Coast Guard Headquarters, Washington, D.C.

The change of watch ceremony 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 command with the knowledge that the member directed by proper authority is taking command and is an opportunity to witness this transfer of responsibility.

After the change of watch ceremony, a retirement ceremony for Bowen will be held. Having served as the Master Chief Petty Officer of the Coast Guard 2006, Bowen will retire after more than 32 years of Coast Guard service in a ceremony presided by Adm. Allen.

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