New captain at the helm of Coast Guard Recruiting Command

Capt. Robert Smith, left, salutes Rear Adm. William G. Kelly, commander of Coast Guard Personnel Service Center, during Coast Guard Recruiting's change of command ceremony in Arlington, Va., Friday, July 10, 2015. During the ceremony, Smith relieved Capt. Ronald Labrec of command. (U.S. Coast Guard photo by Petty Officer 2nd Michael De Nyse)

Capt. Robert Smith, left, salutes Rear Adm. William G. Kelly,
commander of Coast Guard Personnel Service Center, during Coast Guard Recruiting’s change of command ceremony in Arlington, Va., Friday, July 10, 2015.  (U.S. Coast Guard photo by Petty Officer 2nd Michael De Nyse)

ARLINGTON, Va. — Coast Guard Capt. Ron LaBrec relinquished command of Coast Guard Recruiting Command in a time-honored ceremony at the Ballston Common Mall here Friday, signifying new leadership and transition of command to Capt. Robert Smith.

LaBrec assumed command of Coast Guard Recruiting Command in 2012 where he oversaw a recruiting workforce of 451 personnel, across eight time zones, at 78 recruiting offices. He led their collective effort to locate, process, and access 13,201 new enlisted and officer personnel for Coast Guard service.

“I am extremely grateful for the hard work and dedication of the crew during my time at Recruiting Command,” said LaBrec. “Their work attracting, inspiring and hiring the future Coast Guard workforce is critical to the service’s ability to provide vital service to the nation and to local communities.”

Smith’s previous unit was at Coast Guard Headquarters in Washington, D.C., where he served as the Director of Sexual Assault Prevention in the Response Military Campaign Office. Smith holds advanced degrees in Industrial and Organizational Psychology and Instruction and Performance Technology.

“Having the responsibility to hand-select our ‘Coasties’ for the next generation of service is quite inspiring,” said Smith. “The quality of the young people we are looking for are smart, resourceful, and above all, patriotic.”

The change-of-watch ceremony is a time-honored event preserved by rich heritage of naval tradition. It is a formal custom that is designed to strengthen the respect of authority, which is vital to any military organization. The climax of the ceremony is reached when both members read their orders, face one another, salute and transfer responsibility of the command. This also provides the entire command with the knowledge that the member directed by proper authority is taking command and is an opportunity to witness this transfer of responsibility.

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