U.S. Navy Commander Kelly Craft will lead the Boothbay Harbor Memorial Day parade as grand marshal. The Florida native is the commanding officer of PCU Carl M. Levin, a DDG 120 currently at General Dynamics Bath Iron Works.
Craft graduated from Jacksonville University in 2005 with a bachelor of science degree in computer information systems as well as a commission in the U.S. Navy through the Naval Reserve Officer Training Corps. In 2013, he received a master’s in national security and strategic studies from the Naval War College, and completed the Joint Professional Military Education Phase I. He completed a Master of Systems Analysis (M.S.A.) degree with the Naval Postgraduate School’s distance learning program in 2019.
At sea, he has served twice in the Arabian Gulf during Operations Iraqi Freedom and Enduring Freedom on the USS Princeton as the anti-submarine warfare officer and communications officer. He has also served on the USS Boone, USS Pinckney and USS Russell.
His service ashore has been with the Joint Task Force in Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, and other assignments in Manama, Bahrain and Washington, D.C.
Craft has received the Meritorious Service Medal, Joint Service Commendation Medal, Navy and Marine Corps Commendation Medals, Navy and Marine Corps Achievement Medals, the Junior Officer Award for Tactics Excellence, and other unit and campaign awards.
David Patch, Commander of the Charles E. Sherman American Legion Post 36 in Boothbay Harbor, invited Craft to be the parade’s grand marshal. Patch explained that, by tradition, the president of Surface Navy Association (SNA)’s Maine chapter is the commander of the latest ship being built at BIW.
Craft said he and Patch were talking about ways to increase awareness of SNA. “We wanted to be involved in a community event,” he told the Boothbay Register.
Asked what Memorial Day means to him, Craft answered, “One of the benefits of Memorial Day is being able to recognize those who have gone before us to defend freedom and democracy around the world. It makes all of us who are on active duty reaffirm our commitment.”
The Boothbay Harbor region has six short parades starting on Southport and ending in East Boothbay and a ceremony that afternoon in Edgecomb.
At each parade stop, commands will be given, Doug Gimbel will sing the national anthem and a minister from one of several area churches will give a brief talk about Memorial Day. That will be followed by Robin Ford, American Legion post commander-elect placing a wreath at the memorial and a gun salute. Finally, “Taps” will be sounded and a hymn played. See the parade schedule elsewhere in the May 26 print edition and online.