Today, Coast Guard Commandant Adm. Bob Papp presided over the first of three change of watch ceremonies that will culminate in the commandant’s change of command ceremony as the Coast Guard welcomes a new senior leadership team this month.
During Friday’s change of watch ceremony, Master Chief Petty Officer Eric L. Johnson relieved Master Chief Petty Officer Mark H. Allen as the Coast Guard Reserve Force Master Chief. The CGRF-MC will report to the Director of Reserve and Military Personnel and will perform the duties of a personal advisor to the director and to senior Coast Guard leaders on all Coast Guard reserve enlisted personnel matters. Johnson will also serve as the Coast Guard representative to the Assistant Secretary of Defense for Reserve Affairs Senior Enlisted Advisory Council.
Upon relieving the watch, Johnson became the 6th CGRF-MC in Coast Guard history. Allen held the position since 2010 and retired with more than 37 years of distinguished service to his nation.
“We Coast Guardsmen find before us unique opportunities to take care of our families, achieve our missions, and leave things better for those who follow. To do so, we must overcome obstacles. We must engage, collaborate, and focus,” said Allen. “As Colleen and I stand relieved by Master Chief Eric Johnson and his wife Valerie, we reflect on how grateful we are: grateful for our shipmates’ support and perseverance, and grateful for the opportunity to serve alongside countless dedicated Coasties and their families for the past 37 years. While our status has changed, rest assured our interest in and support of their efforts will not wane.”
The change of watch ceremony is a time-honored event preserved by rich heritage of naval tradition. It is a formal custom that is designed to strengthen the respect of authority, which is vital to any military organization. The climax of the ceremony is reached when both members read their orders, face one another, salute and transfer responsibility of the command. This also provides the entire command with the knowledge that the member directed by proper authority is taking command and is an opportunity to witness this transfer of responsibility.
“I am excited to have the opportunity to serve, the ability to pay back, and the chance to make a difference. The men and woman of the Coast Guard Reserve are true heroes and I am humbled to have been selected to the Reserve Force Master Chief position,” said Johnson. “My thanks goes to Master Chief Mark Allen for his work in setting me up for success. Fair winds and following seas. Semper Paratus!”
During the next few weeks Coast Guard All Hands will bring you coverage of the change of watch ceremonies for the Master Chief Petty Officer of the Coast Guard and the Vice Commandant of the Coast Guard. The transition to the new senior leadership team will be complete May 30, when the commandant’s change of command ceremony is scheduled to take place at Coast Guard Headquarters.