Coast Guard Air Station Traverse City will conduct change-of-command ceremony on Thursday

TRAVERSE CITY, Mich. – Capt. Stuart M. Merrill will transfer command of Coast Guard Air Station Traverse City to Cmdr. Jonathan S. Spaner in a Change of Command Ceremony at 11 a.m. on Thursday in the air station’s main hangar facility.

Merrill, a native of Westwood, Mass., and a graduate of the United States Coast Guard Academy, will serve as the Coast Guard’s 2009-10 National Security Fellow at Harvard University in Cambridge, Mass.

Spaner, a native of Brookfield, Conn., and a graduate of the United States Merchant Marine Academy in Kings Point, N.Y., reports from Washington, D.C., where he served as Deputy Chief of the Coast Guard Office of Budget and Programs.

Presiding over the change-of-command ceremony will be Rear Adm. Peter V. Neffenger, commander of the Ninth Coast Guard District. The change-of-command 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. The ceremony is witnessed by all members so that they know exactly when the transfer of leadership takes place.

Air Station Traverse City has 140 active-duty crewmembers and operates five HH-65C Dolphin rescue helicopters.

The unit is responsible for protecting over 6,700 miles of Great Lakes’ coastline and 1,500 miles of international border and responds to approximately 250 search and rescue calls annually.

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