Westling expressed amazement with the Coast Guard in all of Alaska for what he called its “proficiency with which you accomplish your mission, your professionalism while serving our shipmates, operational partners, families and community, and your passion for our Coast Guard and our core values honor, respect, devotion and duty, I’ve noticed that those are the heartbeat of this command,” he said.
“Base Kodiak will continue to remain nimble as we meet your mission support requirements to allow you to maintain your focus on your operational tasking while together we protect, defend and serve the people and the interests of our nation,” Westling added from the podium.
The ceremony had color guard, a troop inspection by both outgoing and incoming commanders. Much of the ceremony, however, was about outgoing Coast Guard Kodiak base commander Captain Jerald L. Woloszynski, who is retiring after two years of service in the command post.
Westling described him as “one of the finest officers with whom I have served.”
“Thanks for your leadership, your mentorship, and your friendship throughout my career,” Westling added.
Woloszynski applauded the entire Coast Guard in the region, especially the base in town.
“Thank you for making my job the easiest job in the Coast Guard and certainly the most-rewarding job in my Coast Guard career. I see you everyday at your best, delivering thousands of daily customer service transactions that support Base Kodiak’s 28 major lines of service,” Woloszynski said.
Woloszynski also took time to recognize the contributions of each of the various departments at the base, closing with upbeat comments about the new commander.
“Captain Westling and I have worked together throughout a good portion of our careers. I can assure you, you are in good hands,” he said.
He then oversaw the presentation of flowers to his mother, wife and family.
Rear Admiral Thomas W. Jones, the presiding official, described Woloszynski’s leadership.
“What I’ve learned is that there’s always a number of solutions in any given issue. Jerry’s magic, he’s able to quickly balance a lot of factors and get to that most effective solution,” he said.
Woloszynski’s post at the helm of the base began in 2012. Prior to that he worked as program manager for the Nationwide Automatic Identification System. He also commanded the Coast Guard’s largest civil engineering unit, CEU Miami, where he and his unit responded to hurricanes Katrina, Rita and Wilma among other events needing response and recovery. He has degrees from the Coast Guard Academy, the University of Illinois, St. Mary’s College, and the National Resource Strategy from the Industrial College of the Armed Forces.
Jones added that Woloszynski provided leadership in unique situations, including Arctic missions, St. Paul, Cold Bay, and in Kodiak itself, “working with the operations to come up with solutions that satisfy operational requirements, stay within the budget levels of which we’ve provided for funding, as well as satisfying any agreements that are out there with tribal, federal or state partners.”
Woloszynski also provided that “steadfast moral leadership” for the families in the local and base community when tragedy struck.
“We look to his quiet strength,” Jones said.
For Westling, a graduate from the Coast Guard Academy, who served most recently as executive officer for Coast Guard Base Elizabeth City, North Carolina, getting the helm at this base in Alaska represents a dream fulfilled.
“I applauded the day when I would finally received orders to go to Alaska after 23 years. I’ve finally realized my dream in serving in the Last Frontier. My family and I are excited to be here and we look forward to becoming part of team Kodiak and the greater Kodiak community,” Westling said.
Contact Peter J. Mladineo at email@example.com