CLEARWATER, Fla. — Coast Guard Station Sand Key held a change of command ceremony Friday where Chief Warrant Officer Larry L. Zeruth transferred command to Chief Warrant Officer Tracy E. Randall.
Capt. Holly Najarian, commander of Sector St. Petersburg, presided over the ceremony that was attended by more than 100 guests.
Zeruth took command of Station Sand Key in 2015. During his command, he was responsible for all facets of Station Sand Key’s multi-mission operational readiness and effective response for Pinnellas and Pasco counties while ensuring the well being, training, and safety of 55 active and reserve duty Coast Guard members and nearly 300 Auxiliary members.
“I am very honored for the men and women of Sand Key to put themselves in harms way to take care of the community we serve,” said Zeruth. “I’m extremely proud of each and every one of you – you are extraordinary people.”
Zeruth also retired from the Coast Guard Friday after serving 28 years. He intends on expanding career opportunities in law enforcement with Pasco County Sheriffs Office.
Randall most recently served as the Boatswains Mate Assignment Officer at the Coast Guard Personnel Servicing Center, in Washington D.C.
Randall arrived about a week ago to familiarize herself with the new command.
Najarian praised Zeruth for successful rescue missions, high state of readiness and maintaining a strong connection with the community and read a citation detailing his accomplishments. Najarian then awarded him the Coast Guard Commendation Medal.
Zeruth expressed gratitude for the support of individuals and partner agencies.
“It has been an honor to serve Pinellas and Pasco County,” said Zeruth. “Special thank you to Clearwater Police Department, Pinellas County Sheriff Office Marine Unit, Pasco County Sheriff Office Marine Unit, Clearwater Fire and Rescue, Dunedin Fire and Rescue, Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation, US Customs and Border Patrol, and Coast Guard Sector St. Petersburg for their partnership in helping Sand Key maintain operational readiness in response to search and rescue and law enforcement missions.”
The Coast Guard Station in Clearwater was established on January 29, 1975. Station Sand Key (then called Station Clearwater) was originally operated from a houseboat moored at Island Estates in Clearwater.
Now, it is the fourth largest multi-mission station in the Seventh Coast Guard District. The crew conducts search and rescue, maritime law enforcement including the management of living marine resources and environmental protection between John’s Pass and Aripeka and out 50 miles into the Gulf of Mexico. Their area of responsibility is over 2,000 square miles.