Christensen takes helm of Coast Guard Cutter Long Island

ANCHORAGE, Alaska – Lt. John J. Christensen relieved Lt. Ryan A. Waters as the commanding officer of the 110-foot patrol boat Long Island at a 10 a.m. ceremony in Ketchikan, Friday, at the Crow’s Nest, Integrated Support Command Ketchikan.

The change of command ceremony is a time-honored naval tradition, which formally restates to the officers and crew of a unit, the continuity and authority of command and is unique in the world today. It involves the total transfer of responsibility, authority and accountability from one individual to another.

Waters is departing the Long Island to attend a civil engineering program at the University of Illinois.

Waters graduated from the Coast Guard Academy in 2003 and reported to the cutter Munro as a deck watch officer. While serving on Munro, Waters made drug enforcement patrols to the Eastern Pacific, fisheries patrols to Alaska, and an overseas deployment to the Middle East, as a part of Expeditionary Strike Group Seven.

Waters subsequently served as weapons officer aboard the cutter Morgenthau and saw further patrols to the Eastern Pacific and Alaska.

Waters is married to Lt. Molly Waters, also a member of the Coast Guard Academy Class of 2003 currently serving at Marine Safety Unit Valdez.

Christensen, a native of Sunapee, N.H., graduated from the Massachusetts Maritime Academy in 1999 with a Bachelor of Science degree in marine transportation, a Third Mate (Unlimited) license from the U.S. Coast Guard, and was commissioned as an Ensign in the Navy.

Upon graduation Christensen attended the Naval Surface Warfare Officer School in Newport, R.I. He was then assigned to the USS Sides, in San Diego, Calif., where he served as a surface warfare officer, CIC officer, and training officer.

In 2002 he transferred to the Coast Guard and reported aboard the cutter Legare, in Portsmouth, Va., serving as a deck watch officer and assistant operations officer.

In 2004 his duties brought him to the U.S. Coast Guard Academy as an instructor of nautical science where he also earned his Second Mate (Unlimited) and 1600 Ton Master’s licenses. His most recent tour was serving as operations officer aboard the cutter Tahoma, in Portsmouth, N.H.

He is married to Lt. Erin Christensen of Killingworth, Conn.

The Coast Guard Cutter Long Island was built by Bollinger Machine Shop and Shipyard in Lockport, La. The Long Island is homeported in Valdez and spends roughly 150 days a year at sea conducting homeland security, federal fisheries law enforcement and search and rescue missions. It is primarily dedicated to patrolling the Valdez harbor and tanker shipping lanes.

Over the past two years the Long Island has traveled thousands of miles in and around Prince William Sound and greater Alaska. It is currently in dry-dock in Ketchikan for routine maintenance. The Long Island is billeted for 16 enlisted crewmembers and two officers.

The 110-foot Island Class Coast Guard cutters are built upon a British patrol boat design created by Vosper-Thornycraft. The vessels replaced the Coast Guard’s 95-foot Cape Class patrol boat fleet in the late 1980s. The cutter Long Island is named for Long Island, N.Y.

There are five additional 110-foot Island Class patrol boats based in Alaska, the Anacapa in Petersburg, the Liberty in Auke Bay, the Roanoke Island in Homer, the Mustang in Seward and the Naushon in Ketchikan.

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