Coast Guard Cutter Morgenthau Changes Hands in Singapore

By Mass Communication Specialist 2nd Class Seth Clarke, U.S. Navy

SINGAPORE – Capt. Douglas J. Smith relieved Capt. Kevin M. O’Day as commanding officer of U.S. Coast Guard cutter Morgenthau (WHEC 722) during a ceremony at Sembawang Wharf, Singapore, July 29.

Smith assumed command of Morgenthau following an assignment in Washington, D.C. as the executive director of the federal interagency group interdiction committee.

Although Morgenthau’s home port is in Alameda, Calif., Smith traveled Singapore to assume command because the cutter is in the region taking part in annual Cooperation Afloat Readiness and Training (CARAT) exercises.

Vice Adm. David P. Pekoske, commander, Coast Guard Pacific Area, said Morgenthau’s participation in this year’s CARAT exercises has done both U.S. and partner nations’ forces a great service.

“I consider Morgenthau in the top tier of the highest quality cutters,” Pekoske told the assembled Coast Guardsmen and Sailors. “For CARAT, you’ve already visited five host nations. You are imparting on them Coast Guard excellence, Coast Guard expertise.”

Pekoske added that CARAT has provided an even more familiar partnership to grow closer.

“You’ve been able to conduct joint operations with the U.S. Navy. That is more important now than it has been in our recent history.”

In October, 2007, the leadership of the Navy, Coast Guard and Marine Corps unveiled a new “Cooperative Strategy for 21st Century Seapower” that calls for greater cooperation and interoperability between all the U.S. sea services.

Lt. Jennifer Runion, a Coast Guard tactical action officer, first participated in CARAT exercises in 2002. She said the forces have continued to build on their ability to work together as well as with other countries.

“It just continues to be better and better every year,” Runion said. “I’m sure Captain Smith will continue to be an active participant and show both the foreign nations and the Navy just what Morgenthau can provide to the event.”

O’Day also turned the attention away from himself to focus on just why he said Morgenthau would continue to set a high standard for Coast Guard vessels: her crew. O’Day asked those present to give him credit for one action above others.

“I am proud of the fact that ‘thank you’ is the phrase I used most often on Morgenthau,” an emotional O’Day recalled. “I meant each one of them sincerely. To all the crew members, past and present: thank you all.”

In addition to Morgenthau, U.S. ships participating in CARAT exercises include the dock landing ship USS Tortuga (LSD 46), the guided-missile frigates USS Jarrett (FFG 33) and USS Ford (FFG 54), and USNS Safeguard (T-ARS 50).

CARAT is an annual series of bilateral military training exercises between the United States and several Southeast Asian nations designed to enhance the operational readiness of the participating forces.

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