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First All Female Crew Takes Command of NOAA Research Vessel

June 1, 2012

In a traditional yet historic Change of Command Ceremony June 1 under sunny skies on Woods Hole Harbor, Lieutenant Anna-Elizabeth Villard-Howe relieved Lieutenant Carl Rhodes as Officer in Charge of the 72-foot Research Vessel Gloria Michelle.

Villard-Howe is the first female captain of the vessel, operated by NOAA’s  Northeast Fisheries Science Center and based at the Center’s Woods Hole Laboratory. Ensign Shannon Hefferan reported for duty as the Junior Officer in Charge. The two-person crew is the first all-female crew on a NOAA research vessel.

Captain Jack Moakley, NOAA (ret) presided at the ceremony, held outdoors on the Laboratory’s flagpole plaza before a large crowd of laboratory staff, family, friends and special guests.  Moakley served as the first NOAA Captain of the vessel;  Now Chief of Operations, Management and Information for the NEFSC, he oversees the operation of the Gloria Michelle as part of his duties.

Rear Admiral Jonathan Bailey, Director of the NOAA Corps and Director of the NOAA Office of Marine and Aviation Operations, sailed aboard the Gloria Michelle as captain during his sea-going career. As the senior officer present he had the honor of performing the pinning on ceremony for the change of command.

To learn more about the Gloria Michelle and her crew, check out the related links to the right, or visit the new Gloria Michelle web site >>

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