Passing the watch in a Coast Guard family

Master Chief Petty Officer Buddy Gilbert embraces his son Seaman apprentice Tyler Gilbert at Buddy's retirement ceremony in Coast Guard Station St. Petersburg, Florida, March 1, 2019. Gilbert retired after 24 years of service. U.S. Coast Guard photo by Petty Officer 2nd Class David Micallef

Master Chief Petty Officer Buddy Gilbert embraces his son Seaman Apprentice Tyler Gilbert at Buddy’s retirement ceremony in Coast Guard Station St. Petersburg, Florida, March 1, 2019. U.S. Coast Guard photo by Petty Officer 2nd Class David Micallef

by PA1 Michael De Nyse

A military retirement ceremony encapsulates a member’s career and marks the start of a new chapter in life.

As military members, many often get the privilege of attending traditional retirement ceremonies, but it’s rare to witness the heartfelt visual impact of a Coast Guard family passing the watch to the next generation.

Coast Guard Master Chief Petty Officer Buddy Gilbert officially retired Friday at Coast Guard Sector St. Petersburg, Fla., after 24 years of Coast Guard service and his son, Seaman Apprentice Tyler Gilbert, attended to honor his father  and receive the watch.

“It has been an honor to serve and I had a lot of incredible moments in my career, but passing the torch to my son Tyler – that is the highlight of my career,” said Gilbert.

During the cherished and time-honored ceremony, Tyler, a recent crew member at Coast Guard Station Grand Isle, La., joined dozens of his father’s friends and life-long shipmates to celebrate an honorable career.

“I’m looking forward to serving and from what I experienced during my father’s career, I know there are many adventures ahead,” said Tyler.

Gilbert’s last unit was the Coast Guard Cutter Polar Star based in Seattle, Wash. Gilbert, originally from Live Oak, Fla., now plans to reside in Brunswick, Ga. and spend as much time with family as he can.

“The people of this organization are what kept me going, and who I owe a great deal. To my wife Sarah and the rest of my family – you all inspired and continue to inspire me,” said Gilbert.

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