Sen. Formica Honors Local Coast Guard Commanders at International Ice Patrol Change of Command Ceremony

August 24, 2017

Senator Formica greets Commander Gabrielle McGrath

State Senator Paul Formica (R-East Lyme) attended the International Ice Patrol’s change of command ceremony on August 11 to welcome Commander Kristen L. Serumgard relieving Commander Gaberielle G. McGrath from duty as commanding officer of the U.S. Coast Guard International Ice Patrol.

The change-of-command ceremony, held at Fort Trumbull in New London, is a time-honored tradition in the military which signifies a transfer of responsibility and formally demonstrates that the authority of command has passed on to a new commander.

“It was an honor to witness this important ceremony to celebrate the many achievements of Commander McGrath and welcome the new commander, Kristen Serumgard,” said Senator Formica. “I thank them for their service and have so much respect for the work they do every day to keep Americans and others from all over the world safe every day in their travels through the North Atlantic Ocean. Many people do not know that the International Ice Patrol, which is responsible for monitoring icebergs for 17 countries, operates right out of New London. Both these individuals have served our nation with poise, intelligence and leadership.”

Commander McGrath had served as commander since 2013 and worked for the International Ice Patrol since 2006. During her time in the patrol she was integral to the transition of the unit from Avery Point in Groton to Fort Trumbull in New London. Prior to working for IPP she has been a Marine Safety professional serving throughout the country. Originally from Pittsburg, she now lives in Ledyard.


Commander Gabrielle McGrath (left) and Commander Kristen L. Serumgard (right) on stage during the change of command ceremony on August 11.

Commander Serumgard came to the International Ice Patrol from serving as Commanding Officer of the United States Coast Guard Cutter FIR since 2014, during which she led a crew of seven officers and 41 enlisted servicing Aids to Navigation along the coasts of Oregon and Washington and conducted Fisheries Law Enforcement, Search and Rescue and Oil Spill Response. She currently lives in Stonington.

The mission of the International Ice Patrol is to monitor iceberg danger in the North Atlantic Ocean. The patrol provides warnings when icebergs pose a hazard to shipping routes and tracks the drift and deterioration of icebergs. The unit was formed after the sinking of the Titanic in 1912. It is run by the U.S. Coast Guard and funded by 17 member countries. Since 1983 it has operated out of Connecticut and was moved to Fort Trumbull in New London in 2009.

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