June 20, 2018
Contact: Shelley Dawicki

2018 Change of Command for the R/V Gloria Michelle

Honoring a long-held maritime tradition, the command of the NEFSC’s 72-foot research vessel Gloria Michelle was transferred June 12 from Officer in Charge (OIC) Andrew Reynaga to Junior Officer in Charge (JOIC) Christopher Gallagher.

Reynaga holds the rank of Lieutenant and Gallagher Lieutenant (Junior Grade) 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.

Guests and Woods Hole Laboratory employees gathered on the laboratory parking lot by the vessel for a brief ceremony and the reading of orders. Captain Michael Abbott, NOAA Corps (ret), presided at the ceremony. Commander Nicole Cabana, NEFSC Chief of Staff, served as Master of Ceremonies.

Commander Nicole Cabana performed the pinning-on ceremony as the senior active NOAA Corp officer present. The new OIC is pinned prior to relieving the current OIC so that the vessel is never without a commanding officer.

LTJG Gallagher assumed the responsibilities as OIC effective immediately, while LT Reynaga will assume a new position July 2 as Antarctic Ecosystem Biologist at the Southwest Fisheries Science Ccnter in La Jolla, California.

LT Benjamin Vandine reported for duty May 18, 2018 as the new Junior Officer in Charge (JOIC). Vandine's last assignment was in Miami, FL, as vessel operations coordinator for the Atlantic Oceanographic and Meteorological Laboratory for three years. While there he completed a master's degree in fisheries and aquatic sciences at the University of Florida.

Reynaga had been the JOIC when he reported for duty in December 2014 and became OIC in October 2016, when he relieved then Lieutenant (Junior Grade) Douglas Pawlishen. Gallagher, who grew up in Sandwich, Mass. and graduated from Massachusetts Maritime Academy, joined the vessel as JOIC on December 19, 2016.

As the ship’s new captain, Gallagher expressed appreciation for the support from Center staff and his family. Special guests in the audience included Ian Trombly, district representative for Congressman William Keating; LT Reynaga's wife, Jennifer, and his daughter, Andi Reynaga; and members of the NOAA Corp officers’ families.

A reception in the Clark Conference Room followed.

In addition to the surveys, R/V Gloria Michelle is deployed on various research projects for both NOAA Fisheries Service and other scientific research organizations in the Northeast.

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