Mackinaw change of command takes place in GH

The "Mighty Mac' came in to Grand Haven Monday afternoon with one commander and will be leaving Sunday with a new face at the helm. Command of the U.S. Coast Guard cutter Mackinaw was transferred from Cmdr. Scott J. Smith to Cmdr. Michael J. Davanzo during a ceremony at Escanaba Park on Wednesday afternoon. Smith, who has been commanding officer aboard the Mackinaw since May 2008, said he was honored to have been able to serve on the Cheboygan-based cutter. "I'm happy to report that I drove the heck out of that ship,' Smith said.
Alex Doty
Aug 4, 2011

During his three-year tenure aboard the Mackinaw, Smith said there were a lot of firsts that took place. This includes breaking ice in the St. Clair River and Lake Erie; and making treks from Buffalo, N.Y., to Duluth, Minn., and from Chicago to Midland, Ontario. He said the ship has given more than 10,000 tours this year, not including this week’s festival.

Smith has served aboard five cutters, three of them as commanding officer. He will be transferring to a role in Washington, D.C.

Davanzo, who is taking over for Smith, has served a variety of roles in the U.S. Coast Guard. Most recently, he was commanding officer of the Hollyhock and icebreaker division chief at the Coast Guard Headquarters Office of Cutter Forces.

According to Rear Adm. Michael Parks, commander of the U.S. Coast Guard 9th District, the idea came up for having the change of command in the spring during a conversation with Smith and Grand Haven Coast Guard Festival Executive Director Mike Smith.

To read more of this story, see today’s print or e-edition of the Grand Haven Tribune.

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