Coast Guard Cutter Polar Star changes command

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U.S. Coast Guard Pacific Area
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June 21, 2018

Coast Guard Cutter Polar Star changes command

Coast Guard Cutter Polar Star changes command

VALLEJO, Calif. — Command of the U.S. Coast Guard Cutter Polar Star changed hands Friday during a change-of-command ceremony at the Mare Island Museum in Vallejo.

Coast Guard Capt. Gregory Stanclik relieved Capt. Michael Davanzo as commanding officer of the Coast Guard cutter during the ceremony.

As the cutter’s 22nd commanding officer, Davanzo took command in July 2016 and was in charge during two Operation Deep Freeze deployments, where the icebreaker broke nearly 85 combined nautical miles of ice to construct ice channels and conducted a total of eight ice escorts to resupply America’s major science bases in Antarctica.

Davanzo’s first deployment saw the cutter break 70 nautical miles of fast ice, and included a port visit to New Zealand, the first U.S. Coast Guard vessel to visit the country in 30 years. During the visit, crewmembers helped fight the Port Hills fires near Christchurch in a move that helped strengthen US-New Zealand relations.

On Davanzo’s second deployment, the crew overcame numerous engineering challenges in the Antarctic environment, including responding to a flooding casualty and repairing bushings for the cutter’s anti-rotation bars. The heavy icebreaker also visited Fiji on the return voyage, the first Coast Guard cutter to do so in the 21st century.

Prior to reporting to the Polar Star, Stanclik was stationed at Surface Fleet Logistics Center Alameda in Oakland where he served as the Long Range Enforcement Product Line Manager of all major Coast Guard cutters in the Coast Guard’s Pacific Area. The Polar Star is Stanclik’s first at-sea command. He previously served as the Coast Guard Cutter Healy’s engineer officer and executive officer, which provided him experience and knowledge of Coast Guard icebreaking operations.

Polar Star has conducted Operation Deep Freeze deployments since Adm. Thad Allen announced the ship's reactivation in 2010, and Stanclik’s first deployment will be the cutter’s fifth consecutive deployment to Antarctica. During this mission, Polar Star’s primary mission includes breaking a channel through the fast ice to resupply the McMurdo Research Station in the Ross Sea. Resupply ships use the channel to bring food, fuel and other goods to support a year of operations by the U.S. Antarctic Program. As the nation’s only operational heavy icebreaker, Polar Star is 42 years old and goes through an annual maintenance period to ensure the ship can complete the annual Antarctic deployment.

The change-of-command ceremony is a time-honored tradition that formally states the continuity of command will be maintained and is a ritual conducted before the assembled company of command. It conveys to the officers, enlisted members, civilian employees and auxiliary members of the Coast Guard that although the authority of command is relinquished by a leader and is assumed by another, it is still maintained without interruption.