Station Menemsha holds change of watch ceremony

Master Chief Robert Riemer passes station to Senior Chief Justin Longval.

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Master Chief Robert Riemer handed off command of Station Menemsha Thursday to Senior Chief Justin Longval at a change of watch ceremony in the Coast Guard’s Menemsha boathouse.

Reimer is off to take charge of the Coast Guard Cutter Hawk in Little Creek, Va.

Capt. Richard Schultz, commander of Sector Southeastern New England, lauded Riemer for his stewardship of Station Menemsha, and in particular the heavy weather training and cost-of-living analysis he undertook.

Schultz said the rescue of the Sea Star (Dec. 13, 2017) underscored the value of Riemer’s heavy weather training program.

“Disabled and adrift, the Sea Star was at the mercy of the elements,” Schultz said. As the Times reported in February, it took a Station Menemsha motor lifeboat crew five hours to reach the Sea Star, 15 nautical miles southeast of Block Island.

Schultz noted the seas were 10 to 15 feet.

The motor lifeboat crew successfully towed the Sea Star to New Bedford, saving its crew from peril.

Schultz also said Riemer’s detailed cost-of-living study resulted in a cost-of-living allowance for the Island’s Coast Guard contingent.

“I only wish that was more,” he said.

Shultz further commended Riemer for environmental enforcement that resulted in high fines for polluters, and for helping to resuscitate the Vineyard’s auxiliary flotilla.

“Coast Guard Cutter Hawk is getting one of the Coast Guard’s finest,” he said.

In recognition of his performance at Station Menemsha, Schultz decorated Riemer with the Coast Guard Commendation Medal with an operational distinguishing device.

When Riemer later took the floor, he swiftly embraced Senior Chief Robert Parent, his friend and colleague of four years.

Riemer credited Parent’s leadership for the rescue of the Sea Star, as Riemer wasn’t in Menemsha at the time.

He gave thanks to his crew, describing them as “simply amazing,” and noted their character was such that when he and his family found they needed to make several medical trips off-Island, the crew pooled money to cover ferry charges.

“Your potential is limitless,” he said of them. “Keep your standards high, and keep looking out for each other.”

Riemer gave thanks to several people in the audience, including June Manning, describing her as a grandmother to the station.

“June has a long relationship with Station Menemsha, going back to Station Gay Head,” he said.

He also thanked his wife, Kara. Weaving in a bit of wit, Riemer said, “I can be relieved but I cannot be replaced.”

Senior Chief Longval told those gathered his new command was “an amazing opportunity that my family and I are extremely grateful for.”
Formerly the officer in charge at Station Woods Hole, and most recently officer in charge at Station Charleston in South Carolina, Longval praised the work of Riemer and the crew of Station Menemsha.

“This station is in fantastic shape,” he said.