HAGATNA, Guam — The U.S. Coast Guard Auxiliary Flotilla 140-02-24 conducted its annual Change of Watch ceremony on Dec. 5, 2023, in Hagatna, Guam. The event marked a transition in leadership and celebrated the Auxiliary’s ongoing commitment to maritime safety and community service.
Capt. Nick Simmons, commander of U.S. Coast Guard Forces Micronesia/Sector Guam, presided over the ceremony and administered the oaths. Distinguished guests included active-duty officers and Rear Adm. Cari Thomas, CEO of Coast Guard Mutual Assistance (CGMA), who spoke about the invaluable support CGMA provides, particularly highlighted by the recent assistance to auxiliarists impacted by Typhoon Mawar.
“The Change of Watch is not just a ceremony; it’s a testament to the unwavering dedication and invaluable contributions of our Auxiliary members,” said Simmons. “The Auxiliary is the cornerstone of our community outreach and maritime safety efforts. Their commitment, both in times of calm and crisis, is exemplary. They significantly enhance our mission effectiveness through initiatives like boating safety education and operational patrols.”
The Change of Watch included the swearing-in of newly elected officers. Duce Romias assumed the role of flotilla commander, taking over from Robert Vasquez, who advanced to the division commander position. Rich Marston, recently retired from the U.S. Coast Guard, was elected vice flotilla commander. Jodie Nelson, the former flotilla staff officer for human resources, was named division chief of staff.
“I’m grateful for the opportunity to serve and so proud of all our members,” said Vasquez. “The leadership transition we celebrate today ensures that the legacy of service, skill, and solidarity within the Auxiliary continues to flourish. I am immensely grateful for the service and our volunteers’ vital role in safeguarding our maritime community.”
During the ceremony, the Auxiliary’s achievements from the past month were highlighted, including a 20-minute boating safety presentation at the U.S. Coast Guard Industry Day and significant contributions to operational boat programs and safety patrols. The patrols, involving members like Dan Bartlett and Bob Lynch, showcase the flotilla’s commitment to excellence and teamwork.
Despite the flotilla’s strong membership of more than 80 volunteers, only 21 percent are currently qualified to participate in Auxiliary mission programs. The ceremony served as a platform to encourage more members to engage in various training opportunities, including vessel examiners, program visitors, public education instructors, and boat crew qualifications. The Auxiliary emphasizes the importance of hands-on participation and collaboration with active-duty members.
The event concluded with discussions on new business, including an awards ceremony, and emphasized the need for continuous learning and leadership development through various training programs.
For more information about the U.S. Coast Guard Auxiliary Flotilla 140-02-24 and its activities, including opportunities to volunteer, visit the official website at http://uscgauxiliaryguam.blogspot.com.
About the U.S. Coast Guard Auxiliary
With over 80 members locally, the U.S. Coast Guard Auxiliary, the uniformed civilian all-volunteer component of Team Coast Guard, assists the active-duty U.S. Coast Guard in many of its missions. Auxiliary members are on the nation’s waterways, in the air, in classrooms, and on the dock, performing maritime domain awareness and safety patrols, vessel safety checks, public education, and more. Auxiliary provides services to Guam and the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands through two flotillas in Division 2: Guam Flotilla 2-24 and Saipan Flotilla 2-29
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