Air Station Clearwater to hold change of command

CLEARWATER, Fla. – Coast Guard Air Station Clearwater is scheduled to hold a change of command ceremony at 9:45 a.m. Thursday.

Capt. Todd A. Sokalzuk will be relinquishing command to Capt. John G. Turner during a time-honored military tradition, which transfers total responsibility, authority and accountability of the unit from one individual to another.

Turner was most recently assigned at the U.S. Northern Command in Colorado Springs, Co., where he served as the Future Operations Division Military Deputy.

In 1987 Turner earned his Bachelor of Science Degree in Civil Engineering from the Coast Guard Academy, in New London, Conn. Turner’s first aviation assignment was at Coast Guard Air Station Clearwater, and he flew HH-3F Pelican and MH-60 Jayhawk rescue helicopters. In 1996, Turner was assigned to Coast Guard Air Station Kodiak, Alaska, where he continued to fly Jayhawks. In 1999, Turner was assigned to Aviation Training Center Mobile, Ala., where he served as a Jayhawk Instructor Pilot, Flight Examiner and Branch Chief. From 2003-2006 he served as the operations officer for Coast Guard Air Station Astoria, Ore. In 2006, Turner served as commanding officer of Coast Guard Air Station Sitka, Alaska.

Turner also holds a Master of Aeronautical Science Degree from Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University.

Turner’s personal awards include a Meritorious Service Medal, and Air Medal, two Coast Guard Commendation Medals and two Commandant’s Letter of Commendation.

Sokalzuk will be reporting to the Budget and Programs division at Coast Guard Headquarters in Washington, D.C.

Coast Guard Air Station Clearwater is the largest and busiest air station in the Coast Guard, flying nearly 650 search-and-rescue cases each year. The crews at the air station also perform anti-drug and alien migrant interdiction operations along the west coast of Florida, Gulf of Mexico, the Caribbean Basin and the Bahamas.

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