Native takes command of Chicago Coast Guard unit

The crew of U.S. Coast Guard Marine Safety Unit Chicago held a change-of-command ceremony July 8 at the Bolingbrook Golf Club in Bolingbrook, Illinois. 

Commander Zeita Merchant relieved Captain Ryan Manning as Commanding Officer of Marine Safety Unit Chicago.

A native of Chicago, Merchant is the first African-American female commanding officer in history to command a Coast Guard Marine Safety Unit and the first female officer to command Marine Safety Unit Chicago.

Merchant’s most recent tours include serving as Special Assistant to the Vice Commandant of the Coast Guard; Executive Officer of Marine Safety Unit Texas City, Texas; and Congressional Fellow on two committees in the U.S. House of Representatives.

Manning took command of Marine Safety Unit Chicago in July 2014 and has been selected to serve as Chief of the Coast Guard Office of Port and Facility Compliance at Coast Guard Headquarters in Washington, D.C.

“I’d like to recognize and thank Capt. Manning for his dedication to Marine Safety Unit Chicago, our partners and industry members, the Coast Guard and our nation,” said Capt. Amy Cocanour, Commander of Coast Guard Sector Lake Michigan. “I’d also like to welcome Cmdr. Merchant to the Ninth District family and back to her home city of Chicago.” 

Maritime Editorial