In a traditional Coast Guard ceremony, Cmdr. Lindsay N. Weaver today became the first female and first Latina commanding officer of Pittsburgh's Marine Safety Unit.
"To be able to take command, it's just a huge honor," she said.
The change of command took place during a ceremony at the University Club in Oakland this morning, with Cmdr. Weaver relieving outgoing Cmdr. Richard V. Timme. Cmdr. Timme, whose three-year command included management of river safety during the G-20 summit, will depart Pittsburgh to attend the Master of National Security Strategy program at the National War College in Washington, D.C.
Cmdr. Weaver, 40, comes to Pittsburgh from Washington, D.C., where she served as military aide to Vice Adm. Sally Brice-O'Hara, the recently retired vice commandant of the Coast Guard and a woman Cmdr. Weaver described as her mentor.
Adm. Brice-O'Hara, who was at the ceremony to watch her former staffer take command, described Cmdr. Weaver as competent and a good communicator.
"She, as a maritime safety and security expert, has the right credentials and the depth of understanding to meet the needs of the Port of Pittsburgh," Adm. Brice-O'Hara said after the ceremony.
Cmdr. Weaver, who was born in Colombia, moved to New York City when she was 10 years old. She graduated from the Coast Guard Academy with a bachelor's degree in marine science in 1995 and in 2002 received a master's in public health from Tulane University in New Orleans.
During her 17-year career in the Coast Guard, Cmdr. Weaver has served at ports including New Orleans and Key West, Fla. She was deployed to Mobile, Ala., to assist with Hurricane Katrina disaster response and in 2007 planned an exercise to prepare for possible oil spills.
Her duties with Pittsburgh's Marine Safety Unit began today, and as commander she oversees 328 miles of river and a command consisting of 28 active duty officers, two civilians, 29 reservists and 140 auxiliary members.
Cmdr. Weaver said the three-year assignment to Pittsburgh is an exciting one for her family. Her husband, Matt Marcenelle, grew up in Bridgeville and has raised their 11-year-old son to be a Steelers fan.
"I must say, the only surprise that I did not anticipate was the language barrier," she said, joking that her husband had given her a translation guidebook to understanding the local dialect.
Kaitlynn Riely: firstname.lastname@example.org or 412-263-1707. This story originally appeared in The Pittsburgh Press. To log in or subscribe, go to: http://press.post-gazette.com/ First Published July 13, 2012 8:00 PM