PEMBINA, N.D. — U.S. Customs and Border Protection’s Office of Field Operations held a change of command ceremony at the International Peace Garden to honor Jason Schmelz, sworn in as Area Port Director for the Area Port of Pembina on July 21. APD Schmelz relieved retiring Area Port Director Mary Delaquis.
The ceremony was officiated by Director of Field Operations Michele James, Seattle Field Office. DFO James thanked APD Delaquis for her many achievements and years of service. She welcomed APD Schmelz into his new position and expressed confidence in his ability to accomplish the CBP mission.
APD Schmelz spoke briefly after DFO James and thanked former APD Delaquis for her leadership and guidance. He thanked the Seattle Field Office for their continued support and confidence.
The highlight of the event was the passing of the guidon flag, from APD Delaquis to DFO James to APD Schmelz. The passing of the guidon represents the symbolic passing of the trust and well-being of an Area Port from one leader to another. There ceremony exemplified CBP’s core values ─ vigilance, service to country, and integrity. When the passing of the guidon was complete and the oath of office administered, APD Schmelz welcomed those in attendance and thanked them for coming.
“I am deeply honored to be named the area port director in Pembina, North Dakota,” APD Schmelz said. “This is a great opportunity, and I look forward to carrying on the high tradition of CBP service at the Area Port of Pembina.”
APD Schmelz began his career with the U.S. Customs Service in Pembina in 1995. He has served in Portal, N.D., as an officer, and in Washington, D.C., as a program manager prior to returning to Pembina in 2003. APD Schmelz has held positions of assistant area port director-tactical, and chief inspector at the Pembina Area Port. He had previously been assigned to carry out the responsibilities of acting area port director before formally named to the new position.
The ceremony was highlighted by the posting of the colors by an integrated honor guard that featured representatives from the Office of Field Operations, U.S. Border Patrol, CBP Air and Marine Operations, and the Royal Canadian Mounted Police. The change of command ceremony is rich in tradition and allows those present to witness the symbolic passing of responsibility, authority, and accountability of command from one leader to another.
U.S. Customs and Border Protection is the unified border agency within the Department of Homeland Security charged with the management, control and protection of our nation's borders at and between the official ports of entry. CBP is charged with keeping terrorists and terrorist weapons out of the country while enforcing hundreds of U.S. laws.