Coast Guard Cutter Maria Bray to Receive New Commanding Officer

 JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – A change of command ceremony is scheduled for the commanding officer of the Coast Guard Cutter Maria Bray at Coast Guard Sector Jacksonville 10 a.m. Friday.

Chief Warrant Officer Richard J. Hutchison will assume the responsibilities of command from Chief Warrant Officer Jay L. Bealer as commanding officer of the Cutter Maria bray based in Mayport, Fla., during the change of command ceremony.

The commanding officer of Sector Jacksonville, Capt. Paul F. Thomas, will preside over the ceremony.

Bealer, who has served as the commanding officer of the Cutter Maria Bray since September 2005, will transfer to the Coast Guard Cutter Dallas based in Charleston, S.C.

Under Bealer’s command, the Maria Bray crew played integral roles in post hurricane operations for three storms ensuring that commercial and recreational traffic could resume as soon as possible in Florida waterways.

Bealer’s crew also hosted the first Iraqi delegation to visit a Coast Guard unit since the Gulf War. Under Bealer’s command, the crew of the Maria Bray was able to collect and donate more than 500 pounds of food for a local Jacksonville food bank.

“Maria Bray is the best ship in the Coast Guard for chief warrant officers. It has the best missions, best operational area and the best crew size. Pound for pound, it’s the best thing the Coast Guard has afloat,” said Bealer.

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