SAN DIEGO (NNS) -- Beachmaster Unit (BMU) 1 held a change of command ceremony at Counseil International du Sport Militare Field Vietnam Unit Memorial Monument, July 28.
Cmdr. Michael Merrill relieved Cmdr. Jessica O’Brien as BMU-1’s 34th commanding officer.
BMU-1 is comprised of four Beach Party Teams (BPT) trained to support and deploy with Amphibious Ready Groups (ARG) around the world. Their function is to control landing craft, lighterage, and amphibious vehicles in the vicinity of the beach from surf line to high water mark, and coordinate movement over the beach of equipment, troops, and supplies.
The guest speaker, Commodore, Naval Beach Group (NBG) 1, Capt. R. A. Rochford spoke about O’Brien’s tenure as commanding officer.
“You created a culture of trust, operational excellence, and you truly care about the morale and welfare of your Sailors,” said Rochford. “BMU-1 and NBG-1’s loss is PHIBRON 3’s gain. I’m glad you will still be part of the ESG-3 family and I look forward to working with you in your new job.”
O’Brien served as commanding officer from March 18, 2016 to July 28, 2017, ensuring BPTs were ready to deploy in support of amphibious landing operations, while always standing by the command’s motto, “Any Beach, Any Time!”
“I’ve enjoyed my time on ships, but when it comes down to why I stayed, it wasn’t because I loved standing watch on the bridge or launching LCACs out of a well deck. It was, and always has been, the people and the relationships that we build,” said O’Brien. “That couldn’t be more true than the time I’ve served at Beachmaster Unit 1. I’ve worked with the most professional and dedicated Sailors, and I will forever be grateful for this opportunity and the privilege to be your commanding officer. It’s been the highlight of my career.”
O’Brien will report to Amphibious Squadron 3 as the Chief Staff Officer.
Merrill has served as executive officer of BMU-1 since February 2016.
“I am honored and humbled to take command as the 34th commanding officer of Beachmaster Unit 1, a proud history that spans over 69 years,” said Merrill.