Coast Guard Marine Safety Unit Chicago holds Change-of-Command ceremony

Cmdr. Randy Preston (left) acknowledges Capt. Thomas Stuhlreyer, commander, Sector Lake Michigan, at a Change of Command ceremony at the Union League Club of Chicago during which time Preston assumed command of Marine Safety Unit Chicago, June 28, 2019. Preston relieved Cmdr. Zeita Merchant who will transfer to Harvard University where she will serve as a National Security Fellow at Harvard Kennedy School's Belfer Center for Science and International Affairs. (U.S. Coast Guard photo by Master Chief Alan Haraf)

Cmdr. Randy Preston (left) acknowledges Capt. Thomas Stuhlreyer, commander, Sector Lake Michigan, at a Change of Command ceremony  during which time Preston assumed command of Marine Safety Unit Chicago, June 28, 2019.  (U.S. Coast Guard photo by Master Chief Alan Haraf)

CHICAGO — Coast Guard Marine Safety Unit Chicago held a change-of-command ceremony during which time leadership and command of the unit was transferred, Friday.

Cmdr. Randy Preston relieved Cmdr. Zeita Merchant as the commanding officer of the Coast Guard Marine Safety Unit Chicago at the ceremony held at the Union League Club of Chicago.

Capt. Thomas Stuhlreyer, commander, Coast Guard Sector Lake Michigan, presided over the event.

Preston is arriving in Chicago from New Orleans, where he was the chief of the Coast Guard Investigations National Center of Expertise. Bringing 14 years of operations ashore experience, his previous tours include supervisor of Marine Safety Detachment Lewes, Delaware, prevention department head of Marine Safety Unit Pittsburgh, and chief of the Inspections Division at Marine Safety Unit Galveston.

Merchant will transfer to Harvard University where she will serve as a National Security Fellow at Harvard Kennedy School’s Belfer Center for Science and International Affairs.

Marine Safety Unit Chicago comprises of 44 active duty, reserve and civilian personnel. It serves an active network of domestic and international maritime interests covering the Lake Michigan shorelines of Illinois and Indiana, as well as 186 miles of the Illinois River System segmented by seven locks and more than 250 bridges.

Marine Safety Unit Chicago’s area of responsibility includes a fleet of 201 inspected vessels and 118 regulated waterfront facilities. The unit is also responsible for administering the Coast Guard’s programs for commercial vessel safety management, marine environmental response, port safety and security, and waterways management.

The change of command ceremony is a time-honored tradition representing the total transfer of responsibility, authority, and accountability from one individual to another. The event ensures the continuity of leadership and operations within the MSU Chicago area of responsibility.


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