Coast Guard Cutter Willow gets new commanding officer

1st Coast Guard District News
NEWPORT, RI – Lt. Cmdr. Brian J. Donahue relieved Cmdr. Owen L. Gibbons as commanding officer of Coast Guard Cutter Willow at a change of command ceremony held June 16, 2011 at Naval Station Newport. Cmdr. Gibbons served as commanding officer of the 225 foot Juniper Class buoy tender since March, 2008. Under his leadership, Willow serviced hundreds of floating aids to navigation from Rhode Island to Maine, conducted patrols to regulate the economically significant fisheries of New England, helped to sustain waterborne commerce through domestic icebreaking operations on the Hudson River, and conducted migrant interdiction during a deployment to the Florida Straits. Cmdr. Gibbons departs Willow to assume his position as executive officer of Coast Guard Training Center Cape May, N.J.

Lt. Cmdr. Donahue’s previous assignment was in Cleveland, where he served as the aids to navigation and domestic ice breaking section chief since 2006. Donahue’s experience in the Coast Guard encompasses many different positions. Highlights of his career include assignments as commanding officer of Coast Guard Cutter Katherine Walker, executive officer of Coast Guard Cutter Oak, commanding officer of Coast Guard Station Panama City, first lieutenant of Coast Guard Cutter Hornbeam; officer in charge of Coast Guard Cutter Wire, and officer in charge of aids to navigation teams in Panama City Beach, Fla. and Demopolis, Ala.

The change of command is a time-honored tradition and deeply rooted in Coast Guard and Naval history. The event signifies a total transfer of responsibility, authority and accountability for the command. The ceremony is witnessed by all members so that they all know exactly when the transfer of leadership takes place.

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