STENNIS SPACE CENTER, Miss. – With the playing of Pres. Ronald Reagan’s renowned speech from his 1981 inauguration, Special Boat Team 22 paid homage to a departing leader, and a leader for the future, with quotes from the address such as, “Those who say that we are at a time with no heroes, they just don’t know where to look;” also honoring past and present service members who sacrifice for the freedom of the nation.
The ceremony, held on Sept. 7 at John C. Stennis Space Center facilities, celebrated the change of command between outgoing SBT 22 Cmdr. Gary Ryals and incoming Cmdr. Kurt J. Muhler, in front of family, friends and staffs of various U.S. Navy and Naval Special Warfare commands, business leaders and political staffs.
Cmdr. Ryals, who assumed command of SBT 22 in June of 2016, in emotional remarks to the more than 200 in attendance, thanked his wife, Donna; son, Matthew; and teammates and friends established during his many years of service, as he spoke of his tenure with SBT 22. “This is my second tour at a special boat team and I can tell you they are not all the same,” Ryals explained. “This team is very special and what makes them special is a lot of things: the people, to the location down here; the culture of the gulf coast and the rich culture of the New Orleans area. But I will tell you it is especially the riverine history and heritage.”