Krannert alumni share time-honored Coast Guard tradition

Rear Adm. Richard T. Gromlich (MSIA ’97) relieved fellow Krannert alumnus Rear Adm. Keith A. Taylor (MSIA ’96) as commander of the 13th Coast Guard District during a change-of-command ceremony at Coast Guard Base Seattle on June 28.

Coast Guard

Rear Adm. Richard T. Gromlich (left) and Rear Adm. Keith A. Taylor (right) shake hands after Gromlich relieved Taylor of command of the 13th Coast Guard District during a formal ceremony presided over by Vice Adm. Paul F. Zukunft (center), commander of Coast Guard Pacific Area and Defense Forces West, held at Coast Guard Base Seattle. (U.S. Coast Guard photo by Petty Officer 3rd Class Katelyn Tyson)

Taylor, who served the Coast Guard for 34 years, assumed responsibilities as commander of the 13th District in July 2011. As commander, he was responsible for Coast Guard operations in Washington, Oregon, Idaho and Montana; 4,400 miles of coastline, 600 miles of inland waterways, and a 125-mile international border with Canada. During Taylor’s tenure, the 13th District conducted 3,284 search and rescue cases, saved 401 lives, assisted 6,350 lives, responded to 6,000 oil spills/chemical releases, and saved $21.75 million in property.

“It’s great to have had the opportunity to lead the young men and women who serve our country so well in the 13th Coast Guard District,” Taylor said. “The respect I have for the communities here in the Pacific Northwest, for all of our partners, and the Coast Guard men and women, is incredible. We have an incredibly rich history out here. We’re a maritime nation and never is it more relevant than right here in the Pacific Northwest.”

Prior to reporting to the 13th District, Gromlich served as the Coast Guard’s first director of operational logistics, overseeing 13 bases and one base detachment responsible for delivering effective and integrated support services.

“I am absolutely thrilled to be here,” said Gromlich. “I’m thoroughly impressed with the work done by the men and the women of the 13th Coast Guard District, and truly honored and humbled to be given this incredible opportunity. I’m really looking forward to getting out into the field.”

The change-of-command ceremony is a time-honored tradition that signifies the transfer of responsibility and formally restates the officer’s continuity and authority of command. Deeply rooted in the Coast Guard’s history, this formal custom is unique in the armed forces and publicly emphasizes the distinct nature of command in the Coast Guard.