PORTSMOUTH, Va. — Coast Guardsmen at Reserve Unit, Joint Staff-South in Suffolk, transferred command Saturday during a change-of-command and retirement ceremony in Portsmouth.
Capt. Karl Leonard, commanding officer of Coast Guard Reserve Unit, Joint Staff-South, transferred command to Capt. James “Tory” Cobb and retired during the ceremony at Coast Guard Base Portsmouth. Vice Adm. William “Dean” Lee presided over the ceremony where Virginia Rep. James R. Forbes also attended.
Leonard assumed duties as commanding officer, CGRU Joint Staff-South in August 2013. Leonard, who enlisted in the Coast Guard in 1985, retired after serving in assignments as diverse as oil clean-up operations in Valdez, Alaska, in the 1980s to managing more than 200 Navy and Coast Guard port security specialists in the United Arab Emirates 20 years later. The ceremony served as a tribute to Leonard who served in major Coast Guard reserve recalls, including 9/11 and Hurricane Katrina. Leonard’s wife, Karen, and their five daughters were in attendance.
Cobb is a native of Anniston, Alabama, and currently lives in Panama City Beach, Florida. He reports to Virginia from Jacksonville, Florida, where he served as senior reserve officer at Sector Jacksonville, managing more than 200 drilling reservists. Cobb previously served the Joint Staff as a watchstander at the National Military Command Center from 2010 to 2013. Cobb’s wife, Parmy, and their two children attended the ceremony.
CGRU Joint Staff-South provides a ready-reserve force of joint exercise planning specialists who serve in the J7 (joint force development) branch. The larger Joint Reserve Unit command is comprised of all branches of the armed forces as well as members of the Virginia and North Carolina National Guards.
The change-of-command ceremony is a time-honored tradition which formally restates the continuity of command will be maintained and is a formal ritual conducted before the assembled company of command. It conveys to the officers, enlisted members, civilian employees and auxiliary members of the Coast Guard that although the authority of command is relinquished by a leader and is assumed by another, it is still maintained without interruption.