Change of command: Mackinaw has new commanding officer

Mackinaw change-of-command ceremony

Coast Guard Cmdr. Michael J. Davanzo and Cmdr. Scott Smith shake hands after Davanzo relieved Smith as commanding officer of Coast Guard Cutter Mackinaw. Rear Adm. Michael N. Parks (pictured at center), 9th Coast Guard District commander, presided over the ceremony. U.S. Coast Guard photo by Chief Petty Officer Kyle N. Niemi

The change-of-command ceremony is a time-honored tradition that ensures Coast Guardsmen are aware that the authority and continuity of command is maintained when a new commanding officer or officer-in-charge arrives.

The crew of the Coast Guard Cutter Mackinaw bore witness to such a ceremony on Aug. 3, 2011 at Escanaba Park in Grand Haven, Mich.

During the ceremony, Cmdr. Michael Davanzo relieved Cmdr. Scott Smith as command officer of the Mackinaw, a combination icebreaker/buoy tender homeported in Cheboygan, Mich. The ceremony, presided over by Rear Adm. Michael Parks, commander of the 9th Coast Guard District, was conducted in Grand Haven at the same time that the city was holding its annual Coast Guard Festival.

Cmdr. Scott Smith, left, addresses the crowd while Cmdr. Michael Davanzo and Rear Adm. Michael Parks look on during a change-of-command ceremony, Aug. 3, 2011. During the ceremony, Davanzo relieved Smith as the commanding officer of the Coast Guard Cutter Mackinaw. U.S. Coast Guard photo by Petty Officer 3rd Class George Degener.

Cmdr. Scott Smith, left, addresses the crowd while Cmdr. Michael Davanzo and Rear Adm. Michael Parks look on during a change-of-command ceremony, Aug. 3, 2011. During the ceremony, Davanzo relieved Smith as the commanding officer of the Coast Guard Cutter Mackinaw. U.S. Coast Guard photo by Petty Officer 3rd Class George Degener.

“I couldn’t think of a better place to hold this event,” said Parks. “The outpouring of support that everyone in Grand Haven shows to the Coast Guard is a very special thing.”

Parks presented Smith with the Meritorious Service Medal for his accomplishments while in command of the Mackinaw.  During his tenure, the ship and crew conducted maintenance on aids to navigation, law enforcement patrols, and assisted commercial traffic by breaking ice and allowing more than $600 million worth of goods to move throughout the Great Lakes.  While addressing the crowd and members of the crew of the Mackinaw, Smith explained that it was the actions of the crew that made all those accomplishments possible.

After Smith and Davanzo read their orders aloud, Davanzo offered his relief to Smith and requested permission from Parks to assume command of the ship and crew. With an exchange of salutes, Mackinaw’s fifth commanding officer officially took command.

 

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