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Andy Reynaga saluting New Officer in Charge (OIC) of the R/V Gloria Michelle LTJG Andrew Reynaga (far left) salutes Commander Chad Cary of the NOAA Corps after receiving the NOAA Small Craft Command insignia. Photo Credit: NOAA Fisheries/Shelley Dawicki, NEFSC
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crowd on dock Guests gather on the Woods Hole Laboratory dock by the research vessel Gloria Michelle for the October 28 ceremony. A reception followed in the Clark Conference Room. Photo credit: NOAA Fisheries/Shelley Dawicki, NEFSC

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Nov. 2, 2016
Contact: Shelley Dawicki
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Change of Command for R/V Gloria Michelle

Honoring a long-held maritime tradition, the command of the NEFSC’s 72-foot research vessel Gloria Michelle was transferred October 28 from Officer in Charge (OIC) Douglas Pawlishen to Junior Officer in Charge (JOIC) Andrew Reynaga.

Both hold the rank of Lieutenant (junior grade) in the NOAA Corps, one of the seven uniformed services of the United States. NOAA Corps officers operate and manage the agency’s fleet of ships and aircraft and support NOAA’s mission in a wide variety of shore-side assignments.

Despite brisk winds and cool temperatures, guests and Woods Hole Laboratory employees gathered on the laboratory parking lot by the vessel for a brief ceremony and the reading of orders. Captain Jack Moakley, NOAA Corps (ret), presided at the ceremony, held aboard the vessel. Moakley served as the first NOAA Captain of the Gloria Michelle; now Chief of Operations, Management and Information (OMI) for the NEFSC, he oversees the operation of the Gloria Michelle as part of his duties. Elizabeth Sweeney, administrative officer for OMI, served as Master of Ceremonies.

Commander Chad Cary, acting OMI Chief, performed the pinning-on ceremony as the senior active NOAA Corp officer present. The new officer in change (OIC) is pinned prior to relieving the current OIC so that the vessel is never without a commanding officer.

LTJG Reynaga assumed the responsibilities as OIC effective immediately, while LTJG Pawlishen will assume a new position December 15 as head of the Gulf Marine Support Facility in Pascagoula, Mississippi.

Pawlishen had been the JOIC when he reported for duty in February 2014 and became OIC in December 2014, when he relieved Lieutenant Anna-Elizabeth Villard-Howe. Reynaga reported for duty in Woods Hole as JOIC on December 15, 2014 after an assignment aboard the 224-foot NOAA Ship Hi’ialakai, homeported at Ford Island in Pearl Harbor, Hawaii.

As the ship’s new captain, Reynaga expressed appreciation for the support from Center staff and from his wife Jennifer, who had a baby girl last week, and from Pawlishen’s fiancé Kate Dalton. Special guests in the audience included NOAA Fisheries Chief Science Advisor Richard Merrick, NEFSC Deputy Science and Research Director Susan Gardner, and members of the two NOAA Corp officers’ families.

Reynaga thanked several people for their work on the vessel with a presentation of plaques. Joe Godlewski of the Ecosystems Surveys Branch was recognized for his efforts wiring the vessel and its equipment, while Steve Weldon and Gary Pearson of Facilities were acknowledged for general assistance for various vessel needs. Elizabeth Sweeney, on her last day before retirement after 33 years of government and military service, was also recognized for her efforts on behalf of the vessel.

A reception in the Clark Conference Room followed. A slide show played in the background, illustrating the vessel’s work conducting the spring and fall groundfish surveys for the Massachusetts Division of Marine Fisheries and the summer Gulf of Maine northern shrimp survey. Many of the images related to the work done on the vessel by the Pawlishen-Reynaga team as part of a major overhaul during the past two years.

In addition to the surveys, R/V Gloria Michelle is deployed on various research projects for both NOAA Fisheries Service and other scientific research organizations in the Northeast.

To learn more about the Gloria Michelle and her crew, check out the related links, or visit the Gloria Michelle web site.

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