On July 20, Coast Guard Station Sand Key held a "Change of Command" ceremony where Chief Warrant Officer Morgan B. Dudley transferred command to Chief Warrant Officer Steven D. McDonnell. Capt. Sheryl L. Dickinson, commander of Sector St. Petersburg, presided over the ceremony that was attended by more than 100 guests.
Dudley, who took command of Station Sand Key in 2009, is now assigned to Special Missions Training Center at Marine Corps Base Camp Lejeune in North Carolina. He will be responsible for providing maritime security training and operational testing and evaluation in support of Department of Defense and Department of Homeland Security missions.
McDonnell most recently served the Coast Guard in Jacksonville Beach in the Waterways and Aids to Navigation units. He arrived two weeks ago to familiarize himself with his new command.
Dickinson praised Dudley for successful rescue missions, high state of readiness and maintaining a strong connection with the community and read a citation detailing his accomplishments. Dickinson then awarded him the Coast Guard Commendation Medal.
Dudley spoke fondly of his time at Station Sand Key and, in a break from a traditional change of command, he called up the four current and past commanders of Coast Guard Auxiliary Division 11 and presented them with a Meritorious Unit Commendation on behalf of all of the members of Division 11.
He also expressed gratitude for the support of individuals and partner agencies that include the City of Clearwater, Clearwater's Chamber of Commerce, Pinellas County commissioners, Congressmen C.W. Bill Young and Gus Bilirakis, Gulfport Mayor Kathleen Peters and others for Clearwater's success in being named one of only 14 Coast Guard cities in the United States.
Addressing his crew, Dudley said, "In our world of coastal security and search and rescue missions there is little room for error and in these demanding conditions this crew has performed near perfection and exceeded my expectations. It was an honor to work with you."
Station Sand Key includes 42 active duty Coast Guard men and women, 22 reserve duty Coast Guard men and women and more than 320 Coast Guard Auxiliary volunteers. The station is responsible for an area that includes the waters from Aripeka in the north to John's Pass in the south. Missions include search and rescue, law enforcement, marine environmental protection and homeland security.
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