Coast Guard Cutter Healy holds change of command ceremony

Capt. Mary Ellen J. Durley shakes hands with Capt. Greg B. Tlapa following the Coast Guard Cutter Healy’s change of command ceremony presided over by Vice Adm. Linda L. Fagan, commander, Coast Guard Pacific Area, in Seattle, June 19, 2019. Durley relieved Tlapa as the cutter’s commanding officer during the ceremony. U.S. Coast Guard photo by Ens. Sam Wood.

Capt. Mary Ellen J. Durley shakes hands with Capt. Greg B. Tlapa following the Coast Guard Cutter Healy’s change of command ceremony presided over by Vice Adm. Linda L. Fagan, commander, Coast Guard Pacific Area, in Seattle, June 19, 2019.  U.S. Coast Guard photo by Ens. Sam Wood.

SEATTLE – The crew of Coast Guard Cutter Healy received a new commanding officer Wednesday following a change-of-command ceremony at Coast Guard Base Seattle.

Capt. Mary Ellen J. Durley relieved Capt. Greg B. Tlapa as commanding officer of the Coast Guard Cutter Healy during the ceremony, presided over by Vice Adm. Linda L. Fagan, commander, Coast Guard Pacific Area.

Coast Guard Cutter Healy is a medium icebreaker and the nation’s premiere high-latitude research vessel. Healy is the only U.S. military surface vessel that deploys to the ice-covered waters of the Arctic. In addition to science operations, Healy is capable of conducting a range of Coast Guard operations such as search and rescue, ship escorts, environmental protection and the enforcement of laws and treaties in the Polar Regions. Healy provides access and presence throughout the Arctic region to protect U.S. maritime borders and to safeguard the maritime economy.


Durley previously served as the chief, Office of Navigation Systems at Coast Guard Headquarters, where she was program manager with responsibility for aids to navigation, vessel traffic services, navigation standards and marine planning within the U.S. maritime transportation system.

Tlapa will report to the Coast Guard’s 9th District in Cleveland as the chief of response.

Under the command of Tlapa, a Phoenix native, Coast Guard Cutter Healy exercised the nation’s only arctic icebreaking capability and supported national-level scientific research, completed during two Arctic West Summer deployments, totaling seven unique science missions.

Tlapa is a permanent cutterman with more than 12 years sea service including afloat tours aboard the Coast Guard Cutters Acacia, Red Beech, Cypress, Hickory and Healy.

The change-of-command ceremony is a historic military tradition. The event, which has remained unchanged for centuries, includes a reading of the command orders in the presence of all unit crew members to ensure continuity of command.

Homeported in Seattle, Healy is the largest ship in the U.S. Coast Guard at 420-feet long with a displacement of over 16,000 tons and a permanent crew of 87.


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