ANCHORAGE, Alaska — Coast Guard Capt. Paul Mehler III transfered command of Sector Anchorage to Capt. Paul Albertson during a change of command ceremony at Joint Base Elmendorf-Richardson Wednesday.
The ceremony was presided over by Rear Adm. Dan Abel, commander, 17th District, and ended with a retirement ceremony for Mehler who served as sector commander since 2012 and retired with 25 years of service.
Albertson comes to Anchorage after serving as chief of prevention at Coast Guard 9th District in Cleveland, Ohio. He is a certified Marine Safety and Environmental Protection Professional and led policy development on oil and hazardous material response while stationed at Coast Guard Headquarters in Washington D.C. As Sector Anchorage commander, Albertson assumes command of the Coast Guard’s largest geographical area of responsibility, a region comprised of numerous high-risk and isolated locations.
“It’s no secret the Alaskan maritime domain can be a challenging operating environment, and there are many key stakeholders with a wide range of keen interests,” said Albertson. “I look forward to working with them to address the challenges that lie ahead.”
During his time in Anchorage, Mehler was responsible for the execution of Coast Guard missions throughout Western Alaska and the Arctic including responses to the 2014 Cook Inlet platform fire and the 2012 grounding of the drill barge Kulluk. His efforts addressed long-standing preparedness gaps and strengthened relationships with federal, local and tribal stakeholders crucial for the management of remote but vital waterways and the marine environment.
“While at Sector Anchorage, I had the pleasure to serve the people of Alaska and it was here that I truly learned what partnerships really mean,” said Mehler. “I’ve been blessed to have had the opportunity to share in the lives of great men and women whom I consider family.”