Coast Guard Marine Safety Unit Savannah conducts change of command ceremony

Cmdr. Amy Beach, left, commanding officer of Coast Guard Marine Safety Unit Savannah, transfers command Friday, June 30, 2017, to Cmdr. Norm Witt, far right, during the unit’s change of command ceremony in Savannah, Georgia. Beach has served as the unit’s commanding officer since June 2014. U.S. Coast Guard photo by Petty Officer 2nd Class Anthony L. Soto

Cmdr. Amy Beach, left, transfers command Friday, June 30, 2017, to Cmdr. Norm Witt, far right, during a change of command ceremony in Savannah, Georgia. U.S. Coast Guard photo by Petty Officer 2nd Class Anthony L. Soto

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. — The crew of Coast Guard Marine Safety Unit Savannah conducted a change of command ceremony Friday at the Ships of the Sea Maritime Museum in Savannah, Georgia.

During the ceremony Cmdr. Amy Beach transferred command of Coast Guard Marine Safety Unit Savannah to Cmdr. Norm Witt.

Beach served as the commanding officer of MSU Savannah since June 2014.

During Hurricane Matthew, she served as incident commander quickly responding to impacts and led the restoration of national strategic port infrastructure in both the Ports of Savannah and Brunswick.

Beach directly influenced policy nation-wide during a significant port cyber hack in which new response protocols were tested and improved. Furthermore, in 2014, her quick response actions were crucial during a large casino boat grounding that ensured 118 passengers were safely evacuated without incident. She also governed the Coast Guard’s innovative efforts in dealing with safety concerns surrounding removal of significant amounts of unexploded ordinance to assist Army Corps of Engineers in their $706 million internationally significant Harbor Expansion Project with an $84 billion marine transportation economic impact world-wide.

Additionally, the MSU oversaw the safety and security of almost 3,800 vessel arrivals annually through a comprehensive inspection program; conducted inspections of facilities regulated under the Maritime Transportation Security Act and was heavily involved in ensuring that the $2 billion expansion project of the Liquefied Natural Gas Facility at Elba Island met safety and security standards.

The change of command ceremony marks a transfer of total responsibility and authority from one individual to another. It is a time-honored tradition, conducted before the assembled crew, as well as honored guests and dignitaries to formally demonstrate the continuity of the authority within a command.

“I am proud to call Savannah my new home,” said Cmdr. Witt “I’m anxious to get to work with the crew of Marine Safety Unit Savannah to serve the maritime community of coastal Georgia.”

Following the change of command, a promotion ceremony was held for Beach, who was promoted to the rank of Captain.

“Being the Commanding Officer of Marine Safety Unit Savannah is such a cherished assignment,” said Beach, “not just for the location—it is the people and the reputation this unit has throughout the Coast Guard.”

Witt’s previous assignment was at the U.S. embassy in the Republic of Liberia where he held the position as Coast Guard maritime advisor.

Beach will transfer to the 9th Coast Guard District, in Cleveland, Ohio, where she will serve as the chief of prevention.

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