A salute to the Wedge and its crew

Published 9:30 pm Friday, August 14, 2009

We don’t give much thought to those who serve aboard the U.S. Coast Guard cutter Wedge, docked in the channels near Foscue Park, but it serves a great purpose on our rivers.

On Friday, a double-ceremony honored retiring commander Master Chief Petty Officer Charles Unkrich and also served as a change-of-command ceremony, as Senior Chief Petty Officer Steven Urban took command.

Unkrich retired after 30 years of service to the Coast Guard, serving the last five as the commander of the Wedge. Urban, who had served here in Demopolis for two years, was glad to come back.

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The Wedge serves as an aid to navigation in our waters, a vital duty for our river-based community.

We want to thank MCPO Unkrich for his years of service and welcome back SCPO Urban and wish him well during his command.

The crew of the Wedge includes Executive Petty Officer Eric W. Boulware; Engineering Petty Officer Danny Dupepe; First Lieutenant Josh McNeill; Assistant Engineering Petty Officer Fred Bollinger; Food Service Specialist Mike Shultz; Robert Flores, Kenneth Campbell, Mathew Booher, Charlie Gainey, Mathew Blalock and James Vivian of the engineering department; and William Gleichman, Brian Chavers and Brian Callahan of the deck department.

We don’t put much thought into your mission and your service, but please do not think that it is not appreciated.

The fact that we don’t notice the work that you do to keep our waters safe proves that you are doing an excellent job on our rivers. Thank you all, and keep up the good work.