New commander takes helm at Indian Island facility
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Charlie Bermant/Peninsula Daily News
Cmdr. Michael Yesunas, left, assumed command of Naval Magazine Indian Island on Thursday from Cmdr. Gary Martin, who is taking another post.

By Charlie Bermant
Peninsula Daily News

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NAVAL MAGAZINE INDIAN ISLAND — Cmdr. Michael Yesunas assumed command of Naval Magazine Indian Island from Cmdr. Gary Martin on Thursday morning in a ceremony aboard the USNS Richard E. Byrd.

More than 100 family members, friends, military personnel and local dignitaries attended the 90-minute ceremony, in a cargo bay on the dry-cargo ammunition ship docked at the ammunition facility.

“It seems like it was just yesterday when I rolled up here,” said Martin, who assumed command in October 2010. “I can't say enough about this beautiful area,” he added.

“Everywhere you look, you see creations from God. The people here are wonderful,” Martin said, his voice breaking as he addressed the Yesunases.

“Mike and Susan, you just won the lottery.”

Martin will take a post in Millington, Tenn., at Naval Personnel Command, where he will be involved in manpower management.

Yesunas most recently was stationed in Afghanistan, where he served as a liaison between provisional governments and the capitol of Kabul.

“The reason we do this mission is to support our war fighters,” Yesunas said.

“When I was on my last post, we were attacked constantly,” he said.

“Fortunately, their weapons systems malfunctioned quite often, but our weapons were safe, efficient and reliable.”

During Martin's command, the facility moved 1,407,000 tons of ordnance with no accidental explosions or injuries, according to a proclamation read at the ceremony.

Yesunas said he also plans to continue Martin's policy of making himself visible in the community.

“I want to be a good neighbor, tell the Navy story and tell how it is doing good things in the world,” he said.

“I want to make sure that everyone knows that we are being good stewards of the environment and that we are part of the local community,” he added.

“I will go anywhere that I am invited.”

Yesunas, who is married and has three school-age children, has rented a house on Marrowstone Island.

He said he hopes to visit local schools as a representative of the military.

“A lot of the kids don't have much contact with the military,” he said.

“I will be the face of the Navy with the hope that they may choose the military as a career.”

Jefferson County Editor Charlie Bermant can be reached at 360-385-2335 or at

Last modified: March 28. 2013 5:55PM
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