Rear Adm. Richard T. Gromlich relieved Rear Adm. Keith A. Taylor as commander of the 13th Coast Guard District during a change-of-command ceremony at Coast Guard Base Seattle Friday. Taylor retired from the Coast Guard after dedicating 34 years to service and country.
"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. This is truly a unique AOR (area of responsibility). We've got to ensure that we are ready to meet those challenges each and every day and I commit to you to do everything I can to ensure you have what you need to continue to get the job done. I am truly honored and humbled to be given this incredible opportunity. I'm really looking forward to getting out into the field and seeing personally the great things that you do."
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. Gromlich has also completed tours of duty at Air Station San Diego, Air Station North Bend, Wash., Air Station Savannah, Ga., and Air Station Cape Cod, Mass. With more than 3,600 flight hours, Gromlich has attained qualifications as an aircraft commander and instructor pilot in the HH-65 Dolphin and as an aircraft commander in the HH-60 Jayhawk.
Taylor assumed responsibilities as commander of the 13th Coast Guard District in July 2011. As commander, he was responsible for Coast Guard operations covering four states, Washington, Oregon, Idaho and Montana; 4,400 miles of coastline, 600 miles of inland waterways, and a 125-mile international boarder with Canada. During Taylor's tenure, the 13th District has 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," said Taylor. "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."
As a native to Westfield, Mass., Taylor holds a Bachelor of Science degree with honors from the U.S. Coast Guard Academy, a Master of Science degree in Industrial Administration from Krannert School at Purdue University and a Master of Business Administration degree from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology where he was a Sloan Fellow.
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 to the armed forces and publicly emphasizes the distinct nature of command in the Coast Guard. Most importantly, it signals a new beginning and a new opportunity for even greater achievement.