Coast Guard Cutter Alert holds change-of-command – Outgoing CO made Honorary Chief Petty Officer

ASTORIA, Ore. — Cmdr. Matthew Creelman was relieved by Cmdr. Brad Mynatt as the commanding officer (CO) of the Coast Guard Cutter Alert in a joint change-of-command and retirement ceremony held Friday, June 19, 2009, outside of the Columbia River Maritime Museum here.

After passing the ship and crew on to Mynatt, Creelman retired from the Coast Guard having devoted 22 years of service to his country. He will retire to Yorktown, Va. with his wife Michelle, daughter Stephanie, and his two sons, James and Andrew.

Friday’s event began with the traditional military change-of-command ceremony, where Creelman transferred all authority to Mynatt and both men read their orders in front of the Alert’s crew. The retirement ceremony for Creelman blended into the end of the change-of-command ceremony and included many emotional speeches, a helicopter fly-by from Coast Guard Group/Air Station Astoria, a flag-passing ceremony, and much more.

Several awards and mementos were given to Creelman for his outstanding dedication to the Coast Guard and in recognition of his inspiring leadership skills. including the award of Honorary Chief Petty Officer.

The Chiefs of the Coast Guard are the senior enlisted subject-mater-experts and knowledgeable leaders. This award is rare for an Officer to receive, and very meaningful. The Chiefs of Alert hold Creelman in such high esteem that they took the steps necessary to ensure he would become one of them.

“Creelman won the hearts of his shipmates, and will be sorely missed aboard Alert,” said Chief Petty Officer Dean Demers, Alert’s command chief. “While the departure of Cmdr. Creelman marks a sad day for the Alert crew as well as the Astoria community, the new commanding officer, Cmdr. Mynatt is a dedicated and decorated officer expected to be an inspirational leader and to pick up right where Cmdr. Creelman left off.”

Mynatt assumes command of Alert while it is undergoing extensive maintenance at the Coast Guard Yard in Baltimore, Md., and while its crew is working at other Coast Guard units both locally and around the country.

“I am looking forward to bringing the cutter back to life and I appreciate the warm welcome from the community of Astoria,” said Mynatt.

Alert is expected to return to Astoria sometime this winter in preparation for resuming normal operations.

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