Coast Guard Cutter Sitkinak hosts change of command ceremony

Southeastern Coast Guard NewsMIAMI — A change of command ceremony for the Coast Guard Cutter Sitkinak was held 10 a.m., Friday at Coast Guard Base Miami Beach.

Lt. Nkoski Thomas assumed command from Lt. Krystyn E. Pecora during the time-honored military tradition where command is formally transferred from one person to another.

The change of command of a naval ship is unique in that it is a transfer of total responsibility, authority, and accountability from one individual to another. The change of command ceremony, though not specifically prescribed by Coast Guard regulations, is part of a rich heritage of seafaring customs. Parading all hands at quarters and public reading of the official orders stems from the early days when movement of mail and persons was a slow process. This procedure was designated to ensure that only an authorized officer held command and that all were aware of the transfer of authority.

The 110-foot Island-class cutter Sitkinak has a crew complement of three officers and 14 enlisted personnel. Patrol boats like the Sitkinak are the workhorses of America’s littoral maritime fleet. Possessing superior speed and flexibility, Coast Guard patrol boats deliver the Coast Guard’s unique blend of military capability, law enforcement authority and lifesaving expertise wherever needed along the coast. The Sitkinak and the other 40 Island-class patrol boats were commissioned in the late 80’s and early 90’s, with the Sitkinak celebrating 25 strong years of service this year.

The Sitkinak and the other 40 Island-Class patrol boats are being replaced by 58 new, Sentinel-class fast response cutters. The FRC is capable of speeds in excess of 28 knots and operating in seas over 8-feet. Armed with a 25-mm chain gun and four .50 caliber machine guns, the Fast Response Cutter provides lethal homeland security firepower. The speed, stability and firepower of the FRC deliver tremendous lifesaving, law enforcement, and homeland security capabilities in the same package.

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