Coast Guard Capt. Kailie J. Benson relieved Capt. Eric J. Doucette as the commanding officer of Coast Guard Sector Boston during a Change of Command ceremony at the Leader Bank Pavilion, in the Boston Seaport, Friday. The ceremony was presided by Rear Adm. Thomas G. Allan Jr., commander, First Coast Guard District.
Capt. Doucette assumed the duties as commanding officer of Sector Boston in 2018, where he oversaw all Coast Guard missions from Plymouth, Massachusetts to the New Hampshire state boarder, and all waters extending 200 nautical miles off shore. Doucette commanded over 1,500 active duty, reserve, civilian and auxiliary personnel, and employed three cutters and 22 boats across five multi-mission stations and an Aids to Navigation Team. In his next assignment, Doucette will serve as the chief of staff, Ninth Coast Guard District.
Capt. Benson, originally from Halifax, Nova Scotia, assumes the duties as the commanding officer, Sector Boston, having most recently served as the chief of the Coast Guard Office of Emergency Management and Disaster Response at USCG Headquarters. In this role, she was responsible for the development and maintenance of strategic doctrine and policy guidance on the Coast Guard emergency management and disaster response mandates.
The Change of Command Ceremony is a time-honored event preserved by the rich heritage of naval tradition. It is a custom that is formal, follows military protocol, and is designed to strengthen the respect for the continuity of command that is vital to military organization. The culmination of the ceremony is reached when both officers read their orders, face one another, salute and transfer responsibility for the command. This provides the entire command with the knowledge that the officer, directed by proper authority, is taking command and provides an opportunity to witness this transfer of responsibility.
During the COVID-19 pandemic, many military traditional events, such as the Change of Command, were disrupted. Friday was a culminating moment for many Coast Guard and Massachusetts first responders to celebrate this time-honored tradition in person, while embracing some of the past years’ technological advancements, incorporating a virtual Zoom stream that enabled many people from across the country to participate.
During the ceremony, senior leaders of the New England marine transportation system were able to enjoy a celebratory event, backdropped by a lively port with numerous ships, ferries, and private vessels transiting. Immediately adjacent to the ceremony was the port dredging project that, in connection with the recently arrived new cargo cranes at Conley Terminal, will keep the Port of Boston a world class maritime cargo hub for decades to come.