MANAMA, Bahrain – U.S. Coast Guard Patrol Forces Southwest Asia held a change of command ceremony at Naval Support Activity Bahrain, in Manama, Bahrain, June 8, 2016.
Vice Adm. William “Dean” Lee, commander, Coast Guard Atlantic Area, presided over the ceremony where Coast Guard Capt. John Driscoll relieved Capt. Anthony Ceraolo as commander, PATFORSWA.
PATFORSWA is the Coast Guard’s largest unit outside of the U.S. and plays a key role in maritime security, maritime infrastructure protection and more recently, direct impacts to counter-smuggling operations with U.S. Naval Forces Central Command.
PATFORSWA is comprised of six 110′ cutters, shore side support personnel, the Advanced Interdiction Team, the Maritime Engagement Team and other deployable specialized forces operating throughout the U.S. Central Command area of responsibility.
Since the establishment of PATFORSWA in 2002, the U.S. Coast Guard’s expertise has been in high demand within the CENTCOM area of responsibility, but even more so over the past year with counter smuggling operations by combined maritime forces and an increase in visit, board, search and seizure subject matter expert exchanges. As one of the world’s leading agencies with regard to maritime drug interdiction and counter smuggling, PATFORSWA has shared their expertise across 33 countries and with more than 3,182 personnel, not including U.S. and DOD forces. Additionally, PATFORSWA has provided subject matter expert exchanges in the realms of small boat operations, search and rescue, oil-spill response, damage control, engineering and navigation.
The change of command ceremony provides a time honored simple ritual, remaining essentially unchanged for centuries of naval history. Signifying the transfer of responsibility, authority and accountability to the assembled crew, the tradition represents the Coast Guard men and women who have stated the words and assumed the command.