Coast Guard Cutter Munro to hold Change of Command

17th Coast Guard District News
KODIAK, Alaska – Capt. Mark Cawthorn will relieve Capt. Matthew Bell as commanding officer of Coast Guard Cutter Munro during a change of command ceremony Friday at 2 p.m. at the Coast Guard Base Kodiak gym.

Bell has commanded Munro, the only high endurance cutter stationed in Alaska, since July 2009. Bell’s next assignment will be as the chief of response, Eleventh Coast Guard District, in Alameda, Calif.

Cawthorn is arriving from Coast Guard Headquarters in Washington. His prior career assignments include tours aboard the cutters Ute, Pegasus and Thetis in Key West, Fla., following his attendance at the Coast Guard Academy and subsequent commissioning in 1986. He served in Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, at the Navy’s Fleet Training Group and was part of an operation to rescue more than 30,000 Haitian migrants fleeing their homeland. Cawthorn served as commanding officer of the Monomoy out of Woods Hole, Mass., followed by a tour at the First Coast Guard District command center in Boston as a senior controller for search and rescue and other Coast Guard operations. He served as the executive officer aboard the cutter Escanaba also out of Boston and went on to serve as the Coast Guard liaison to the U.S. Embassy in Port-Au-Prince, Haiti. He returned to Boston and served as the commanding officer of the Seneca. Since 2004 Cawthorn has been stationed in Washington D.C., with two assignments at the Department of State working to curb the flow of narcotics and migrants into the U.S. while preserving human rights and maritime safety and cooperation. He also completed several tours as part of the Coast Guard Acquisitions Program.

Cawthorn is married to the former Deb Karch of New Jersey, currently serving as a commissioned officer on active duty in the Coast Guard. They have a son, Jacob, and a daughter, Alexi. Akela, their Husky, completes the family.

Cawthorn will be the 21st commanding officer of Munro, which was commissioned on September 27, 1971, at Avondale Shipyard in New Orleans, Louisiana. The major missions of the ship’s crew are domestic and international fisheries enforcement, maritime homeland security, search and rescue and defense operations primarily in the Bering Sea and Northwest Pacific Ocean.

Munro is named for Signalman First Class Douglas A. Munro (1919–1942), the only Coast Guardsman to be awarded the Medal of Honor.

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