Capt. Matthew Brown relieved Capt. Timothy Cronin as the commanding officer of the Legend-class national security cutter Hamilton (WMSL 753), during a formal change of command ceremony at the unit, July 23.
Vice Adm. Steven Poulin, commander of the U.S. Coast Guard Atlantic Area, presided over the ceremony.
A native of Long Island, New York, Cronin retired following 25 years of service in the U.S. Coast Guard. He and his family are retiring to San Fernandina Beach, Florida.
“Today was about celebrating what this extraordinary crew accomplished over the last two years. It was an honor to be their captain, and it was an even greater honor to serve my country for the last 25 years in the U.S. Coast Guard,” said Cronin.
Cronin began his career as a cadet at the U.S. Coast Guard Academy in New London, Connecticut, graduating in 1996. His career includes shoreside and afloat tours on both coasts and Puerto Rico. He also served as senior duty officer in the White House Situation Room under the Bush Administration.
Of note, during his time on Hamilton, Cronin oversaw several integrations with the Navy. In January 2020, the Hamilton became the first NSC to participate in a Navy Composite Training Unit Exercise; for three weeks, the cutter integrated with the USS Dwight D. Eisenhower and Carrier Strike Group 10. After operating with the Carrier Strike Group, the crew patrolled the Eastern Pacific Ocean in support of Joint Interagency Task Force South, returning in April 2020 after 80 days in the Eastern Pacific Ocean and offloaded $324 million of cocaine and marijuana. In 2021, Hamilton was the first NSC to operate in the Mediterranean and the Black Sea. The crew conducted a historic 97-day deployment to Europe, escorting two U.S. Coast Guard Sentinel-class fast response cutters across the Atlantic on their route to Bahrain and then working with U.S. Navy Sixth Fleet, Allies, and partners.
Brown is a native of Reading, Pennsylvania, earning his commission through the officer candidate school program in 1997. He is arriving from the U.S. Coast Guard Headquarters office of personnel management. Brown has a background at sea with tours on major cutters on both U.S. coasts and shoreside rotations through various policy and management divisions and law enforcement roles.
In December 2014, the Service commissioned Hamilton. It is the fifth cutter to be named in honor of the U.S. Coast Guard’s founder, Alexander Hamilton. The ship’s motto is Vigilant Sentinel. To date, they have conducted 29 interdictions of cocaine and marijuana with an estimated value of $851.6 million. The NSC is the flagship of the U.S. Coast Guard, emphasizing the multi-mission mandate as a law enforcement agency, a regulatory agency, and a military branch providing a unique and unparalleled comparative advantage as a Service.
The change of command ceremony is a time-honored tradition deeply rooted in U.S. Coast Guard and Naval history, signifying the total transfer of responsibility, authority and command of a military unit.