Coast Guard Air Station Elizabeth City schedules change of command ceremony

5th Coast Guard District NewsELIZABETH CITY, N.C. — Coast Guard Air Station Elizabeth City is scheduled to hold a change of command ceremony at 10 a.m., Thursday, June 30.

Capt. John T. Hardin, commanding officer of Coast Guard Air Station Elizabeth City, will be relinquishing command to Capt. Joseph P. Kelly during a time-honored military tradition, which transfers total responsibility, authority and accountability of the unit from one individual to another.

Kelly was most recently assigned to the Coast Guard Atlantic Area in Portsmouth, Va., where he served as the Assistant Scheduling and Prioritization branch chief and Aviation Forces section chief.

Kelly earned his Bachelor of Science degree in Forest Biology from the State University of New York College of Environmental Science and Forestry, in Syracuse, N.Y. In March 1988, Kelly received his Commission from Officer Candidate School, in Yorktown, Va. Kelly’s first aviation assignment was at Coast Guard Air Station Borinquen, Puerto Rico, where he flew the HH-65 Dolphin helicopter and served as the education services officer. In 1994, Kelly was assigned to Coast Guard Air Station, Port Angeles, Wash., where he continued to fly the Dolphin and served as the supply officer. In 1998, Kelly was assigned to Coast Guard Air Station Detroit, Mich., where he served as the assistant operations officer and facilities engineering officer. From 2003 to 2006, Kelly served as the executive officer and operations officer at Air Station Atlantic City, N.J.

Kelly also holds a Master of Business Administration from Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University.

Kelly’s personal awards include a Meritorious Service Medal, two Coast Guard Commendation Medals and two Achievement Medals.

Following the change of command, Hardin will be retiring after 27 years of faithful service with the Coast Guard. He is planning on working and residing in northeast North Carolina.

Coast Guard Air Station Elizabeth City is the largest and busiest Coast Guard air station on the east coast, flying nearly 300 search and rescue cases annually. The crews at the air station also perform anti-drug operations in South and Central America, maritime environmental protection in the northern Atlantic Ocean, and ports and water ways coastal security in the Hampton Roads area. The unit operates a fleet of four HC-130 airplanes and three MH-60 helicopters.

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