Coast Guard Change of Command - WTOC-TV: Savannah, Beaufort, SC, News, Weather & Sports

07/10/03

Coast Guard Change of Command

The Coast Guard Air Station Savannah said good-bye to its old commander and hello to its new one today. Captain Gail Donnelly was the first female commander at Air Station Savannah. Now she's heading to Seattle. Her fellow Coast Guardsmen said farewell in an emotional ceremony.

"They're phenomenal. The people in the Coast Guard have a heart of service," Donnelly said. "I feel both happiness and excitement for all the people who were able to come and enjoy the change of command ceremony and then a lot of regret."

Over the last two years, Captain Donnelly has seen some amazing changes in American history and with the United States Coast Guard: the 9-11 attacks, the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq, and she was here when the Coast Guard became part of the Homeland Security Department.

"We are the armed force that stays here as well as reaches overseas," she explained. "So we protect the homeland for search and rescue, for pollution, for fisheries and against terrorism, so it's a very good fit."

For the next two years, Commander Peter Troedsson, the executive officer from Coast Guard Air Station San Francisco, will lead Air Station Savannah. Troedsson says he's looking forward to working with the folks in Savannah. "The Air Station is a wonderful unit and has a fine reputation around the Coast Guard. I love doing Coast Guard work. I've been in for 20 years and look forward to continuing it here."

Captain Donnelly will be Chief of Search and Rescue operations in Seattle, where the Coast Guard does some of its most dangerous rescue training.

Reported by Liz Flynn, lflynn@wtoc.com

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