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Sunday, May 19, 2024

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Change of Command Held at Coast Guard Training Center

 

By Jack Fichter

CAPE MAY — Rear Adm. Cari B. Thomas was relieved by Capt. William Kelly, as the commanding officer of U.S. Coast Guard Training Center Cape May during a military change of command ceremony Weds., June 23 on the training center’s parade field.
Rear Adm. Timothy Sullivan, commander, Force Readiness Command, presided over this time-honored naval tradition, which formally restates the continuity and authority of command and is unique in the world today. It involves the total transfer of responsibility, authority and accountability from one individual to another.
Thomas’ orders are taking her to U.S Coast Guard Headquarters, Washington D.C. for duty as Director of Response Policy after two years in Cape May.
Capt. Kelly’s former position was Director of the Coast Guard’s Leadership Development Center.
Sullivan called Thomas’ time in Cape May “an unqualified success.” He credited her with modernization of recruit training including curriculum upgrades and technology enhancements while reducing attrition.
Thomas created a board of advisors comprised of 15 of the Coast Guard’s senior and enlisted decision makers to provide long-range oversight of recruit training, said Sullivan. He presented her with a Meritorious Service Medal: Gold Star.
Thomas worked to develop the Coast Guard’s first wind turbine project that will supply two-thirds of the training center’s power.
Sullivan said Kelly had a “sound educational, technical and operational background that is more than impressive.”
In her farewell remarks, Thomas said the true mission of the Coast Guard was helping your fellow man. The Coast Guard is in challenging times with over 31,000 inter-agency personnel at the Gulf of Mexico oil spill, she said.
She apologized for her dogs escaping numerous times to various parts of the base.
Thomas recalled last winter’s blizzard with recruits sleeping in galley because there was no power in the barracks and rationing food because no one was sure when the next supply truck would arrive.
She thanked community members for their support from the schools to Operation Fireside.
“I’m pleased to report that this unit is its finest state of readiness and we are ready to answer all bells that are given,” said Thomas.
In his address, Kelly thanked his family for their support and said he was living out his dream by moving to Cape May.

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