Helicopter Interdiction Tactical Squadron holds change of command

Capt. Kevin Gavin, right, transfers command of Coast Guard Helicopter Interdiction Tactical Squadron to Capt. Michael Campbell, left, Thursday, June 15, 2017, during the unit’s change of command ceremony in Jacksonville, Florida. Vice Adm. Karl L. Schultz, center, commander of the Coast Guard Atlantic Area, presided over the ceremony. U.S. Coast Guard photo by Petty Officer 3rd Class Ryan Dickinson

Capt. Kevin Gavin, right, transfers command of Coast Guard Helicopter Interdiction Tactical Squadron to Capt. Michael Campbell, left, Thursday, June 15, 2017.  U.S. Coast Guard photo by Petty Officer 3rd Class Ryan Dickinson

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. — The crew of Coast Guard Helicopter Interdiction Tactical Squadron conducted a change of command ceremony Thursday at Cecil Field.

During the ceremony, Capt. Kevin Gavin transferred command of HITRON to Capt. Michael Campbell. Gavin served as the commanding officer of HITRON since April of 2014 and oversaw numerous operations and milestones such as HITRON’s 500th drug bust and three consecutive record breaking years during which the unit successfully interdicted 249 vessels smuggling more than 210,107 kgs of illegal contraband valued at over $5.9 billion.

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 very happy to have the opportunity to return to Jacksonville,” said Campbell. “I’m excited and proud to take command of HITRON and lead this incredible crew in carrying out the Coast Guard missions here in northeastern Florida and down range in support of the Commandant’s Western Hemisphere Strategy.”

Gavin is retiring after 26 years of service.

“I have always wanted to return to this dynamic and strategically important squadron,” said Gavin. “We are a unique unit in the Coast Guard – flying a dangerous mission against elusive foes and I have had the great fortune and honor to fly and work with the very best the Coast Guard has to offer. Retiring from a flying job, in command of HITRON to end my career is extra special for my family and I – I could not have asked for anymore.”

Campbell is arriving from the National Defense University in Washington D.C. where he earned a Master’s of Science degree in National Resource Strategy.

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