Lt. James Okorn
Traverse City Buzz: With family, friends, and members of the community on hand, Cmdr. Joseph Buzzella transferred command of Coast Guard Air Station Traverse City to Cmdr. Sean Cross, a fellow Coast Guard aviator, at a ceremony Friday morning at the air station.
Rear Adm. Michael Parks, commander of the 9th Coast Guard District, presided over the traditional change-of-command ceremony.
Buzzella is a graduate of the Coast Guard Academy in New London, Conn. He holds a master's degree in public administration from Harvard University in Cambridge, Mass., where he was a public service fellow.
His prior operational assignments include Coast Guard air stations in Miami, Cape Cod, Mass., and San Francisco, where he held qualifications as an instructor pilot in the MH-65 Dolphin helicopter and the HU-25 Guardian airplane.
Buzzella is departing to attend the Naval War College located in Washington, D.C., which will culminate in a master's degree in national security and strategic studies.
In attendance at the ceremony were Buzzella’s wife, Patty, his daughters Lauren and Maegan, and son Joey, as well as 16 members of his family.
Buzzella enjoyed his two-year tour in Traverse City, but said it went by too fast.
“Serving as the Air Station Traverse City commanding officer has truly been the highlight of my career," he said. "The relationships I have formed are lifelong, the hard work we have done at the air station is enduring, and the memories my family and I have from here are unforgettable.”
Cross is reporting from Air Station Elizabeth City, N.C., where he served as the unit’s executive officer — the second in command — and a pilot of MH-60 Jayhawk helicopters. He was joined at the ceremony by his wife, April, his son, Jackson, and daughter, Avery.
Change-of-command ceremonies are time-honored traditions deeply rooted in American military history. The event signifies a total transfer of responsibility, authority and accountability for the command in Traverse City from Buzzella to Cross. The ceremony was attended by all members of the unit, so they could witness the transfer of leadership firsthand.