Two area Coast Guardsmen are starting new adventures.
A ceremony held Wednesday morning at Fort Macon formalized the transfer of command from Chief Warrant Officer Thaddeus Bouchard to Senior Chief Boatswain Mate Jeremy McConnell.
During his two years of service at Fort Macon, Bouchard and his crew were responsible for monitoring the daunting area of shoals and sandbars that proliferate North Carolina’s coastal waters. Under Bouchard’s leadership, the crew executed close to 240 search-and-rescue missions, conducted hundreds of private and commercial fishing vessels inspections and prevented an estimated $3 million in property damage.
Beyond his efforts in the water, Bouchard exhibited significant commitment to the professional development of senior boatswain leaders. From his station, he helped four boatswain mates pass the panel and board examinations to achieve their certifications.
Capt. Anthony Popiel, captain of the U.S. Coast Guard North Carolina Sector, said Bouchard has performed his duties “exceptionally well.”
“No one else delivers the same kind of intensity and passion for the Coast Guard that he brings to the table day in and day out,” Popiel said. “His prowess as a leader and a man of action has set the tone for the crew here at Fort Macon. He poured his heart and soul to making sure his crew was prepared to do the job well and their professionalism and proficiency is apparent every day.”
For his efforts while stationed at Fort Macon, Bouchard received a Coast Guard Accommodation medal and was presented with a Gold Star in lieu of a second ribbon for the award by Popiel and Executive Chief Petty Officer Marco Cowley, who served as master of ceremonies. Bouchard is scheduled to report to the Special Mission Training Center Tactics Branch aboard Camp Lejeune.
“I want to thank all of my family and friends who made it here today,” said Bouchard. “To my wife Brandy, who has put up with the late night phone calls and an awful work schedule, you are my soul mate and I’m blessed to have you as my wife. The last two years have been the best of my career. Thank you all so much for making this assignment very special. To Jeremy, I wish you the very best.”
McConnell received orders to his first command in 2005 as officer in charge of Coast Guard Station Hobucken. He advanced to senior chief petty officer in 2008 and received orders to his second command as officer in charge of Coast Guard Station Brunswick. His station at Fort Macon will be his third command.
“I am humbled and honored to be here today,” said McConnell. “I would like to thank Mr. Bouchard for leaving the station and his crew in outstanding condition. I’ll do my very best to carry forward your vision and wish you and your family the very best in the future.
“To my wife, again we are starting on another adventure. For nearly 20 years you have been my rock and best friend. You are the love of my life. I assure everyone the American public will get the very best Station Fort Macon can give on a daily basis.”