Coast Guard Cutter Healy holds change of command ceremony

Coast Guard Rear Adm. Peter W. Gautier, acting commander, U.S. Coast Guard Pacific Area and Defense Forces West, salutes Capt. Kenneth J. Boda during the Coast Guard Cutter Healy (WAGB 20) change of command ceremony aboard the cutter moored at Base Seattle, June 25, 2021. Boda relieved Capt. Mary Ellen J. Durley as Healy’s commanding officer during the ceremony. U.S. Coast Guard photo by Ens. Maddie Colwell.

Coast Guard Rear Adm. Peter W. Gautier salutes Capt. Kenneth J. Boda during the Coast Guard Cutter Healy change of command ceremony June 25, 2021.  U.S. Coast Guard photo by Ens. Maddie Colwell.

SEATTLE — A change of command ceremony was held aboard the U.S. Coast Guard Cutter Healy (WAGB 20) Friday, June 25,  at Coast Guard Base Seattle.

Rear Adm. Peter W. Gautier, acting commander Coast Guard Pacific Area and Defense Forces West presided over the ceremony in which Capt. Kenneth J. Boda relieved Capt. Mary Ellen J. Durley as Healy’s commanding officer.

Under Durley’s command, Healy exercised the nation’s Arctic icebreaking capability, projected American sovereignty along the maritime boundary line with Russia, completed more than one thousand unique science evolutions supporting national-level research, and commissioned a new main propulsion motor following an electrical fire in 2020.

“It has been my honor serving alongside an outstanding crew, Team Healy, who persistently overcame engineering challenges and a global pandemic to execute critical Coast Guard missions protecting U.S. strategic interests in the Arctic,” said Durley. “I look forward to supporting Healy’s future sustainment efforts beyond 21 years and building our new Polar security cutters, which are vital to operating effectively in the dynamic Arctic domain.”

Durley’s next assignment is at Coast Guard Headquarters in Washington D.C. as the executive assistant to the Assistant Commandant for Capability. Durley is a permanent cutterman with more than 14 years of sea service including afloat tours aboard the Coast Guard Cutters Acacia, Juniper, Sassafras, Thunder Bay, Alder, Polar Star, and Healy.

Boda reports to Healy from the director of Interagency Coordination at North American Aerospace Defense Command and United States Northern Command. With eight years afloat aboard Coast Guard Cutters Polar Sea, Eagle, and Polar Star, Boda brings icebreaking experience for mentoring ice pilots, projecting U.S. presence in the Arctic domain, and facilitating scientific research.

Healy is a medium icebreaker capable of conducting a wide range of Coast Guard operations including search and rescue, ship escorts, environmental protection, and enforcement of laws and treaties in the Polar Regions. Uniquely equipped to conduct science operations, Healy is also the nation’s premiere high-latitude research vessel. Healy is the only U.S. military surface vessel that routinely deploys to the ice-covered waters of the Arctic to provide access and secure national interests by protecting maritime borders and natural resources.

The change of command ceremony is a time-honored military tradition. The event, which has remained unchanged for centuries, includes a reading of the command orders in the presence of the ship’s 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 84.


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