Coast Guard Sector San Juan receives new commander for Coast Guard forces in Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands

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SAN JUAN, Puerto Rico – Coast Guard Sector San Juan received a new commander for Coast Guard forces in Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands, following a change of command ceremony Tuesday at the Coast Guard base in Old San Juan, Puerto Rico.

Rear Adm. Jake H. Korn, Commander of the Coast Guard’s Seventh District, presided over the ceremony in which Capt. Robert W. Warren assumed command of Sector San Juan. Meanwhile, Capt. Drew W. Pearson, Sector San Juan’s outgoing commander, retired from the Coast Guard after completing 30 years of faithful and honorable service to the Nation

Capt. Robert W. Warren (right), Sector San Juan commander, assumes command of Sector San Juan as he salutes Rear Adm. Jake H. Korn, commander of the Coast Guard's Seventh District, while Capt. Drew W. Pearson (left), U.S. Coast Guard retired, relinquished command of the unit during a ceremony July 15, 2014 at Coast Guard Sector San Juan.  In his role as Sector Commander, Capt. Warren will lead approximately 650 active duty, reserve and civilian men and women to conduct all Coast Guard missions in the Eastern Caribbean including Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands. (Photo by Ricardo Castrodad, Sector San Juan public affairs specialist)

Capt. Robert W. Warren (right) assumes command of Sector San Juan from Capt. Drew W. Pearson (left), during a ceremony July 15, 2014 at Coast Guard Sector San Juan. (Coast Guard photo by Ricardo Castrodad)

Prior to assuming command of Sector San Juan, Captain Warren completed a tour at the Joint Chiefs of Staff’s Strategic Plans and Policy Directorate in the Pentagon, where he supported and represented the Chairman on Maritime Homeland Defense strategy and policy issues.

“I am truly honored to have been selected to lead and serve alongside U.S. Coast Guard forces in Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands,” said Capt. Robert W. Warren, Sector San Juan commander. “I look forward to working with the men and women of Sector San Juan and with our partners from local and federal law enforcement, emergency response agencies, and maritime industry to further strengthen maritime safety and security in the region. I am excited to be back in the Caribbean with my family, where we look forward to sharing once more in the rich culture of Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands.”

Capt. Pearson is now moving to North Carolina, where he will assume responsibilities as the new Director for Emergency Management for Dare County.

“It was a true honor to lead the Coast Guardsmen of Sector San Juan for the past three years as we worked to foster and grow our invaluable relationships with our regional law enforcement and emergency response partners, the maritime industry, and supporters of the Coast Guard mission that have made Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands a safer place,” said Capt. Drew W. Pearson, U.S. Coast Guard retired. “I can’t think of a better and more beautiful place to culminate a wonderful 30-year career. Alongside our Active Duty, Reserve, Civilian, and Auxiliary workforce it has been a true honor and privilege to serve the citizens of Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands; protecting them from the sea, from threats delivered by the sea, while also protecting the sea itself. Much work remains to be done, however, and there is no one better than the Coast Guard and our partners to answer the call. God Speed!”

Capt. Pearson was awarded the Legion of Merit for his performance upon completing his three-year tour as Commander of Sector San Juan. The award recognized Coast Guard Sector San Juan’s law enforcement efforts with other Department of Homeland Security agencies in Puerto Rico and the Puerto Rico Police under Operation Caribbean Guard. This operation effectively countered the extensive increase in drug ventures into Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands through the interdiction and seizure of approximately 25,714 kilograms of drug contraband, 972 weapons and $15.2 million dollars.

During Pearson’s command, Coast Guard Sector San Juan interacted with Governments of 18 island nations enabled seamless teamwork during 200 Search and Rescue Cases, saving 170 lives, assisting 3,600 mariners and salvaging $41 million dollars in property. Sector San Juan also established a Unified Command comprised of 12 Federal and Puerto Rico Environmental Protection Agencies and three pollution response companies during the 121-day, $15 million dollar removal and pollution mitigation effort of the 202-foot cargo vessel Jireh from the Mona Island Natural Reserve.

Sector San Juan, headquartered in La Puntilla, Old San Juan, covers a 1.3 million square mile region that encompasses 18 countries in the eastern Caribbean. Sector San Juan comprises six shore units including Air Station Borinquen, Aguadilla, one of three major air stations in the Coast Guard’s Seventh District, and two of the busiest ports in the nation, with more than three million visitors per year.

The Coast Guard is the nation’s lead federal agency for Maritime Homeland Security, and is charged with reducing terrorism-related risk in the maritime domain. The Coast Guard carries out this awesome responsibility by working with other federal, state and local law enforcement partners to verify compliance with all federal statutes and regulations in both the port area as well as on vessels at sea.

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