Coast Guard holds Master Chief Petty Officer of the Coast Guard change-of-watch ceremony

Coast Guard Headquarters News
CAPE MAY, N.J. — Master Chief Petty Officer Steven W. Cantrell assumed the duties of the master chief petty officer of the Coast Guard during a change-of-watch ceremony Thursday morning at Coast Guard Training Center Cape May.

During the ceremony, overseen by Coast Guard Commandant Adm. Robert J. Papp Jr., Cantrell relieved Master Chief Petty Officer of the Coast Guard Michael P. Leavitt to become the 12th MCPOCG.

At the conclusion of the change-of-watch ceremony, Leavitt, who assumed duties as the 11th MCPOCG on May 21, 2010, retired after over 32 years of Coast Guard service. He plans to relocate with his family to his home state of Idaho.

Master Chief Petty Officer Steven W. Cantrell (right) assumes the duties of the master chief petty officer of the Coast Guard during a change-of-watch ceremony Thursday, May 21, 2014 at Coast Guard Training Center Cape May, N.J. During the ceremony, overseen by Coast Guard Commandant Adm. Robert J. Papp Jr., Cantrell relieved Master Chief Petty Officer of the Coast Guard Michael P. Leavitt to become the 12th MCPOCG. U.S. Coast Guard photo by Petty Officer 2nd Class Patrick Kelley.

Master Chief Petty Officer Steven W. Cantrell (right) assumes the duties of the master chief petty officer of the Coast Guard during a change-of-watch ceremony Thursday, May 21, 2014 at Coast Guard Training Center Cape May, N.J. U.S. Coast Guard photo by Petty Officer 2nd Class Patrick Kelley.

“I was able to accomplish far more than I thought was possible, and I give credit to those great Coast Guardsmen past and present who have led and continue to lead with strong conviction, who coached and guided me and others in learning our craft,” said Leavitt. “That’s our history, our heritage and our tradition.”

“Today, I can tell you that our future is bright. Throughout my 32 years, I have never seen such dedicated, motivated, and highly dedicated men and women.”

Cantrell is reporting from his previous assignment as command master chief of Coast Guard Atlantic Area.

“To the men and women of the world’s best Coast Guard — I am proud to wear the same uniform as all of you,” said Cantrell. “And, I am honored to be afforded the opportunity to be your voice.”

“To Master Chief Leavitt, I would like to say thank you. Thank you, both Mike and Deb, for your years of service and sacrifice. I wish you and your family fair winds and calm seas in the next chapter of your lives.”

The Office of the Master Chief Petty Officer of the Coast Guard was established by legislative action on Aug. 27, 1969 to provide the commandant of the Coast Guard with a personal advisor and assistant in matters affecting the enlisted members of the service, both active-duty and reserve, and their families. The MCPOCG is the most senior enlisted member of the Coast Guard. The normal tour of assignment is four years, which runs concurrently with the commandant. The MCPOCG must be a living example of the Coast Guard’s core values of honor, respect, and devotion to duty. Individuals who are selected to serve in this prestigious position must possess the highest standards of professionalism and personal integrity.

Master Chief Petty Officer Michael P. Leavitt (ret.) and his wife, Debra, depart a change-of-watch ceremony Thursday, May 22, 2014 at Coast Guard Training Center Cape May, N.J. After the change-of watch ceremony, in which Leavitt transferred his duties as MCPOCG to Master Chief Petty Officer Steven W. Cantrell, Leavitt retired following 32 years of Coast Guard service. U.S Coast Guard photo by Petty Officer 3rd Class Cynthia Oldham

Master Chief Petty Officer Michael P. Leavitt (ret.) and his wife, Debra, depart a change-of-watch ceremony Thursday, May 22, 2014 at Coast Guard Training Center Cape May, N.J. After the change-of watch ceremony, in which Leavitt transferred his duties as MCPOCG to Master Chief Petty Officer Steven W. Cantrell, Leavitt retired following 32 years of Coast Guard service. U.S Coast Guard photo by Petty Officer 3rd Class Cynthia Oldham

The responsibilities and activities of the MCPOCG include: assisting in the development of policy for managing the enlisted workforce of the Coast Guard; traveling to units to address service members on quality of life and personnel issues; formal testimonials before Congress; representing enlisted quality of life issues by speaking to various civilian and military committees and forums; and maintaining a strong relationship with service organizations and companies that support enlisted personnel issues.

The MCPOCG works closely with his senior enlisted counterparts in the Department of Defense — the sergeant major of the Army, the master chief petty officer of the Navy, the sergeant major of the Marine Corps, and the chief master sergeant of the Air Force — as well as numerous other government and non-government organizations around the world.

Click a photo for more from the ceremony.

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