Coast Guard Cutter Alligator welcomes new commander in St. Petersburg, Fla.

Southeastern Coast Guard NewsST. PETERSBURG, Fla. — Crewmembers of Coast Guard Cutter Alligator, homeported here, held a change of command ceremony Friday at Coast Guard Sector St. Petersburg.

Lt. Marc Benson transferred command of the Alligator to Lt. j.g. Leslie Hunt during the ceremony.

During Benson’s tour aboard the Alligator, he and his crew were the first Coast Guard’s 7th District unit to respond to the Deepwater Horizon Response oil spill. They conducted scientific support operations, enforcement of closed fishing areas, scouting of oil for collection and logistic support.

Also during Benson’s tour, he and his crew completed 1500 recreational vessel boardings and 150 commercial vessel boardings terminating voyages of more than 200 vessels for unsafe conditions. The crew also deployed six times to Coast Guard Sector Key West and interdicted more than 100 migrants during those deployments.

The Alligator is an 87-foot Coastal Patrol Boat with a crew of one officer and 11 enlisted personnel. Patrol boats like the Alligator are the workhorses of America’s littoral maritime fleet. Possessing superior speed and flexibility, Coast Guard patrol boats deliver the Coast Guard’s unique blend of military capability, law enforcement authority and lifesaving expertise wherever needed along the coast.

“Serving aboard the Alligator the last two years, as commanding officer, has been one of the most rewarding and humbling experiences of my life,” said Benson. “Almost every day we faced new challenges, and through those challenges were opportunities for the crew and myself to learn and excel. I could not have asked for a more outstanding crew and

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