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Research Vessel Gloria Michelle Command Changes Hands

November 12, 2019

Honoring a long-held maritime tradition, command of the research vessel Gloria Michelle was transferred in October in ceremonies at the Woods Hole Laboratory.

Ben VanDine being pinned during transfer ceremony.

Guests and Woods Hole Laboratory employees gathered at the laboratory in October for a brief ceremony and the reading of orders. They welcomed a new commanding officer for the NOAA research vessel Gloria Michelle. 

Three seated NOAA Corps officers await start of the change of command ceremony

NOAA Corps officers (left to right) Alex Creed, Ben VanDine and Chris Gallagher await start of the change of command ceremony for the R/V Gloria Michelle. Photo: NOAA Fisheries

The ship’s officer-in-charge Lt. Christopher Gallagher and junior-officer-in-charge Lt. Benjamin VanDine had served in those roles since June 2018. Now VanDine has assumed command of the Gloria Michelle while Gallagher is heading for a new assignment.

Both men are officers 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.


NEFSC vessel coordinator Nathan Keith reads the orders. Captain Nicholas Chrobak (right) presided at the change of command ceremony. Photo: NOAA Fisheries

Captain Nicholas Chrobak, executive officer to NOAA Fisheries for the NOAA Corps, presided at the ceremony. The Northeast Fisheries Science Center's vessel safety coordinator, Nathan Keith, read the orders. Special guests in the audience included George Warren, a longtime deck-hand on the Gloria Michelle, friends, colleagues, and members of the NOAA Corp officers’ families. 

Chrobak also executed the pinning-on ceremony. The new officer-in-charge is pinned prior to relieving the current officer-in-charge so that the vessel always has a commanding officer.


Captain Chrobak moves the Officer in Charge pin on Chris Gallagher to the right side, indicating a past command. Photo: NOAA Fisheries

During Gallagher's command, the 72-foot vessel made 573 tows and was at sea 117 days without accident or injury. Extensive upgrades made to the vessel in the past 18 months were noted, along with the history and contributions of those who came before. In addition to scientific surveys, the Gloria Michelle is deployed on research projects for NOAA Fisheries and other scientific research organizations in the Northeast.

VanDine assumed his new responsibilities immediately. Gallagher is now operations officer for the NOAA Corps basic officer training classes at the U.S. Coast Guard Academy in New London, Connecticut. NOAA Corps officers train there with U.S. Coast Guard officers.
New vessel officers salute each other

New officers of the R/V Gloria Michelle Ben VanDine (left) and Alex Creed (right) salute each other at the change of command ceremony. Photo: NOAA Fisheries

Lt. Alexander Creed has reported for duty as the Gloria Michelle's new junior-officer-in-charge. Creed's last assignment was in Pascagoula, Mississippi aboard the NOAA Ship Pisces.

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


For more information, please contact Shelley Dawicki

Last updated by Northeast Fisheries Science Center on September 10, 2021