Coast Guard Cutter Waesche to hold change of command

ALAMEDA, Calif. – The command of Coast Guard Cutter Waesche is scheduled to be transferred from Capt. Lance L. Bardo to Capt. Kelly L. Hatfield, July 30, during a change of command ceremony being held at Coast Guard Island at 10:30 a.m.

During the past three years, Bardo commanded Waesche’s pre-commissioning crew, brought the cutter through sea trials, accepted delivery to the Coast Guard and commissioned the 418-foot cutter in May 2010. He guided Waesche and the crew through ready for sea inspection and returned the crew and cutter safely to homeport. Bardo went on to successfully complete operational testing of the aircraft ship integrated secure and traverse aircraft capture and hangaring system for the first time on a U.S. warship. The ship sailed more than 14,000 miles in a brief six-month period.

Bardo’s military awards include the Defense Meritorious Service Metal, four Coast Guard Meritorious Service Medals, five Coast Guard Commendation Medals, and numerous other personal, campaign and unit awards. Bardo is married to the former Elizabeth (Beth) Brown and has two sons and one daughter.

Bardo is retiring from the Coast Guard after more than 29 years of service.

Hatfield is coming to the Waesche from assignment as Chief, Pacific Area Response and Enforcement. Hatfield previously commanded Coast Guard Cutter Alert, a medium endurance cutter homeported in Astoria, Ore., and Coast Guard Cutter Alex Haley in Kodiak, Alaska.

Hatfield was born in Livingston, Mont., and is a 1985 graduate of the United States Coast Guard Academy. He earned a master’s degree in National Security and Strategic Studies from the College of Naval Command and Staff, U.S. Naval War College in Newport, R.I.

Hatfield’s’ military awards include the Defense Meritorious Service medal, two Coast Guard Meritorious Service medals, two Coast Guard Commendation medals, two Coast Guard Achievement medals, and numerous other personal, campaign and unit awards. Hatfield is married to the former Amber Ashenfelter and has four daughters.

The change-of-command ceremony is a time-honored event preserved by the rich heritage of naval tradition. It is a formal custom that is designed to strengthen the respect of authority, which is vital to any military organization.

The ceremony culminates when both officers read their orders, face one another and salute. This signifies to the entire command that the transfer of responsibility has formally taken place.

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