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Coast Guard's HITRON crew conducts change of command ceremony

Command transferred from Capt. Kevin Gavin to Capt. Michael Campbell

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JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – A change of command ceremony was conducted Thursday for the crew of the U.S. Coast Guard Helicopter Interdiction Tactical Squadron.

The command of HITRON was transferred to Capt. Michael Campbell from Capt. Kevin Gavin, who had served as the commanding officer since April 2014.

During his tenure as commanding officer, Gavin oversaw numerous operations and milestones, such as HITRON's 500th drug bust and three consecutive record-breaking years during which the unit successfully interdicted 249 vessels smuggling more than 210,107 kilograms of illegal contraband valued at more than $5.9 billion.

Gavin's retirement comes after 26 years of service.

“I have always wanted to return to this dynamic and strategically important squadron," Gavin said. "We are a unique unit in the Coast Guard -- flying a dangerous mission against elusive foes, and I have had the great fortune and honor to fly and work with the very best the Coast Guard has to offer. Retiring from a flying job, in command of HITRON, to end my career, is extra special for my family and I. I could not have asked for any more.”

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The change of command ceremony a time-honored tradition that marks a transfer of total responsibility and authority from one individual to another. It is conducted before the assembled crew, honored guests and dignitaries.

“I am very happy to have the opportunity to return to Jacksonville,” said Campbell, who arrived from the National Defense University in Washington, D.C., where he earned a master's of science degree in national resource strategy. “I’m excited and proud to take command of HITRON and lead this incredible crew in carrying out the Coast Guard missions here in Northeastern Florida and down range in support of the
commandant’s Western Hemisphere strategy.”


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