From DVIDS / 06.29.2017 / Story by Petty Officer 3rd Class Charles Gaddis IV / Navy Public Affairs Support Element, Det. Northwest
PORT HADLOCK, Wash. — Cmdr. Rocky Pulley relieved Cmdr. Nick Vande Griend as commanding officer of Naval Magazine (NAVMAG) Indian Island during a change-of-command ceremony, June 29.
More than 60 Sailors, family members, friends and members of the local community attended the ceremony, held on the NAVMAG ammunition pier next to USNS Rainier (T-AOE-7).
Navy Band Northwest opened the ceremony performing “The National Anthem” followed by Naval Hospital Bremerton’s Honor Guard parading the “colors”.
Vande Griend welcomed all the Sailors, family members, and visitors and gave a special welcome to retired veterans from the Seaport Landing Retirement and Assisted Living Community. Quarterly, Vande Griend and Sailors from NAVMAG visit the retirement community to spend time with the veterans for what is known as “commander’s breakfast”.
“My family and I feel privileged to have been given the opportunity to serve here. The people of Port Hadlock, Port Townsend, and Marrowstone Island have been very welcoming and supportive,” said Vande Griend.
Commander, Navy Region Northwest, Rear Adm. Gary Mayes served as the guest speaker for the ceremony.
“It’s a pleasure to be here today to celebrate Naval Magazine Indian Island’s change of command ceremony and to recognize and honor the retirement of Cmdr. Nick Vande Griend after 30 years of honorable service,” said Mayes. “No one who serves in the Navy could achieve success without love, encouragement, support and sacrifices of our families, so it’s really special to see family members at ceremonies like this.”
Vande Greind received a Meritorious Service Medal for outstanding service from June 2015 to June 2017.
“I have done all I can to make Indian Island the best at what we do,” said Vande Griend. “Now I turn it over to a very capable man.”
Vande Griend reflected on his time as commanding officer as he began to read his orders.
“I love the Pacific Northwest, I’ve spent half of my career up here,” said Pulley. “I’m very excited to continue the excellence this command upholds and be part of this very supportive community.”
After the change of command ceremony, Vande Griend retired and the torch was passed. As “Old Glory” [a folded American Flag] was passed from Sailor to Sailor, it passed through the hands of an Airman before reaching Vande Griend.
“Dad I relieve you!” shouted Air Force, Cadet 4th Class Jacob Vande Griend. “I feel honored to be part of the ceremony and my dad’s retirement, I’m proud of all he’s done and I’m happy to have my dad back.”