Station, cutter in Sabine to host rare joint Change of Command ceremony

SABINE, Texas – The crews of Coast Guard Station Sabine and the Coast Guard Cutter Heron will take part in a rare, joint change of command ceremony at 10 a.m. Friday, June 5, 2009, at Coast Guard Station Sabine.

The change of command ceremony is a time-honored event preserved by the rich heritage of naval tradition. In most cases, each unit hosts its own change of command ceremony, but due to fortunate timing, Station Sabine and the cutter Heron will hold the event together.

Station Sabine Logo

Station Sabine Logo

The current commanding officer of Station Sabine, Chief Warrant Officer James D. Simmons, of Memphis, Tenn., arrived at the station in June of 2006 and was met by a crew that was working diligently to overcome the devastation wrought by Hurricane Rita. For more than a year Simmons spent much of his time overseeing efforts to rebuild the station. He devoted himself to ensuring that his crews’ morale stayed high, even though they were working out of temporary buildings and trailers. The opening of the new station in September of 2007 brought a proud chapter in Station Sabine’s history to a close.

Simmons will depart for the icebreaking Coast Guard Cutter Mackinaw in Cheboygan, Mich., where he will assume the duty of first lieutenant.

Chief Warrant Officer Christopher Ruleman, of Houston, will assume command of the station. Ruleman arrives from District Eleven in Alameda, Calif., where he served as operations training officer and assistant director for the southern region Coast Guard Auxiliary. His primary duty at the district office was to manage a training program that involved more than 500 boat-crewmembers. He also acted as liaison to local, state and federal agencies in southern California, Arizona, Nevada and Utah.

Cutter Heron Logo

Cutter Heron Logo

Lt. William L. Belcher, commanding officer of the Coast Guard Cutter Heron, will pass the helm to Lt.j.g Taylor C. Kellogg, of Bryn Mawr, Penn. Kellogg comes to Sabine from the Coast Guard Cutter Hamilton, home-ported in San Diego, Calif., where he served as a navigator and first lieutenant. He also took part in eastern Pacific counter drug patrols as a boarding officer and was onboard for the first ever Homeland Security Patrol of the Arctic Ocean.

Coast Guard Station Sabine serves the ports of Port Arthur, Orange and Beaumont, Lake Sabine and more than 150 miles of coastline in southwestern Louisiana and southeastern Texas. It is home to more than 50 crewman, two 41-foot utility boats, a 21-foot small boat and 11 25-foot small boats. The station has been at its current location since 1934.

The 87-foot Coast Guard Cutter Heron, which replaced the aging 82-foot patrol boat Point Baker, was commissioned in 2001. The Heron serves the same offshore areas as the station, but also operates as far east as Florida and as far south as Brownsville. The cutter’s missions include search and rescue, law enforcement and homeland security.

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