Maritime Force Protection Unit Bangor holds change-of-command ceremony

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SEATTLE — Cmdr. Michael L. Schoonover relieved Cmdr. Thomas P. Sullivan as commanding officer of Coast Guard Maritime Force Protection Unit Bangor, during a change-of-command ceremony held at Naval Base Kitsap in Silverdale, Friday.

Rear Adm. Richard T. Gromlich, commander of the 13th Coast Guard District, presided over the ceremony.

Schoonover previously served as the chief of response at Coast Guard Sector Puget Sound in Seattle, where he was responsible for all search and rescue, homeland security, law enforcement and pollution response efforts along the northern Washington Coast, and in the Strait of Juan de Fuca, Puget Sound and San Juan Islands.

Cmdr. Michael L. Schoonover (left) and Cmdr. Thomas P. Sullivan (right) salute each other after Schoonover relieved Sullivan as commanding officer of Coast Guard Maritime Force Protection Unit Bangor, Wash., during a change of command ceremony presided over by Rear Adm. Richard T. Gromlich (middle), commander of the 13th Coast Guard District, held at Naval Base Kitsap in Silverdale, Wash., July 25, 2014. Sullivan retired following the ceremony after serving 33 years in the Coast Guard as both an enlisted electronics technician and a commissioned officer. (U.S. Coast Guard photo by Petty Officer 3rd Class Katelyn Shearer)

Cmdr. Michael L. Schoonover (left) and Cmdr. Thomas P. Sullivan (right) salute each other after Schoonover relieved Sullivan as commanding officer of Coast Guard Maritime Force Protection Unit Bangor, Wash., July 25, 2014. (U.S. Coast Guard photo by Petty Officer 3rd Class Katelyn Shearer)

Sullivan retired from the Coast Guard after 33 years of service, during a retirement ceremony following the change of command. He plans to remain in the Pacific Northwest.

The mission of MFPU Bangor is to protect special, high-value units in their homeport transit areas, as part of the ports, waterways and coastal security mission.

The Coast Guard crews assigned to MFPU Bangor are trained and equipped to provide security escorts to a variety of Navy assets transiting the Puget Sound and Strait of Juan de Fuca. Crews employ their Coast Guard law enforcement authority to enforce a security zone surrounding U.S. Naval submarines in the Sector Puget Sound Captain of the Port zone.

The change-of-command ceremony is a time-honored tradition and deeply rooted in Coast Guard and Naval history. The event signifies a total transfer of responsibility, authority and accountability for the command. All members of the unit attend the ceremony to witness the complete transfer of leadership.

Click the photo for more from the ceremony.

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