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North Carolina native returns to his home state to take command of Coast Guard cutter

By JANNETTE PIPPIN | The Daily News, Jacksonville, N.C. | Published: August 2, 2018

ATLANTIC BEACH, N.C. (Tribune News Service) — A Coast Guard change of command brings the incoming commanding officer, an Eastern North Carolina native, back to the area.

Lt. Peter Lewia took on the role of commanding officer of Coast Guard Cutter Richard Snyder during a change of command ceremony held Thursday morning at Fort Macon State Park. He takes the helm from Lt. Andrew Norberg.

For Lewia, who grew up in Wilmington and attended Ashley High School, the return to Eastern North Carolina is a bit of a homecoming and an opportunity to lead the crew of the Coast Guard’s “Cadillac” of cutters.

“Assuming command and stepping into the role and responsibilities of command of the Richard Snyder is a dream come true,” Lewia said in an interview after the ceremony. “Command is one of the greatest positions in the Coast Guard if not the entire military and I am so fortunate to come back to Eastern North Carolina and to have my family down in Wilmington. I’m looking forward to the next two years.”

It also brings him back to the United States after completing a tour overseas, where he was commanding officer of the 7th crew in the Kingdom of Bahrain.

As Lewia transitions to command of the Cutter Richard Snyder, Norberg will be attending Johns Hopkins University for postgraduate studies in international affairs.

Norberg was part of another major transition during his two years at Fort Macon.

He was the final commanding officer for Cutter Nantucket, which was decommissioned in March 2017, and the first commanding officer for Cutter Richard Snyder.

“Lt. Norberg decommissioned the Nantucket and commissioned the Richard Snyder; he’s been busy,” said Rear Admiral Meredith Austin, commander for the Coast Guard Fifth District as she described his accomplishments as outgoing commander for Richard Snyder.

The Cutter Richard Snyder is the 27th Fast Response Cutter in the Coast Guard fleet and the first to be homeported at Atlantic Beach.

It was commissioned in April and over the past six months the 24-person crew has traveled from Louisiana to Key West to New York City, patrolling the East Coast along the way. Most recently, according to the Coast Guard information, Snyder responded to four search and rescue cases in the Atlantic Beach and Beaufort areas and is responsible for saving the lives of six people and two vessels.

Norberg commended the crew for their dedication, which included extensive training not always required of cutter crews.

“Because this is a brand new Coast Guard cutter they attended several different schools to prepare,” he said. “They are an exceptional crew.”

Heavy rains and lightning Thursday morning caused the last-minute change of locations of the ceremony from the outside location by the cutter to the nearby visitor center at Fort Macon State Park.

“We call this Coast Guard weather,” Austin joked as she welcomed those in attendance.

Norberg thanked the park for their assistance and said it is an example of the partnerships the Coast Guard has with the community.

©2018 The Daily News (Jacksonville, N.C.)
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