NOAA Corps officer Lt. Jr. Grade Alexander Creed “fleeted up” to become the new commanding officer of the R/V Gloria Michelle at the change of command ceremony in Woods Hole, Massachusetts, on June 8. Vessel operations coordinator Nathan Keith presided over the ceremony. Nicole Cabana, the acting director of the Northeast Fisheries Science Center, read the orders.
The Gloria Michelle is a 72-foot vessel that conducts surveys and other science research projects from Virginia to Canada. The NOAA Corps is a uniformed service that operates and manages ships and aircraft for NOAA’s research efforts. It has commanded the Gloria Michelle since 1980.
Creed relieved Lt. Cmdr. Benjamin VanDine, who had been the officer in charge on the vessel for the past 4 years. Under VanDine’s command, the Gloria Michelle lost no sea days because of mechanical or medical issues. This is an impressive feat for an assignment that spanned the height of the COVID-19 pandemic.
Creed had worked closely with VanDine as the junior officer-in-charge. He presented his predecessor with a plaque, a framed illustration of the Gloria Michelle, and a small trophy naming him “Officer of the Extra Year.” Typically, officers serve 3 years in this assignment, but logistical complications from COVID-19 extended VanDine’s service an additional year.
A full and enthusiastic room of friends, family, and coworkers attended. Special guests included Lt. Christopher Gallagher, a fellow NOAA Corps officer and previous captain of the Gloria Michelle.