Coast Guard welcomes new vice commandant

Coast Guard Commandant Adm. Paul Zukunft looks on as Adm. Charles Ray thanks Adm. Chuck Michel for his service as the 30th vice commandant of the Coast Guard during the vice commandant change of watch ceremony at Coast Guard Headquarters in Washington, D.C., May 24, 2018. During the event, Adm. Charles Ray (left) became the 31st vice commandant of the Coast Guard. Coast Guard photo by Petty Officer 1st Class Patrick Kelley.

Coast Guard Commandant Adm. Paul Zukunft looks on as Adm. Charles Ray (left) thanks Adm. Chuck Michel for his service as the 30th vice commandant of the Coast Guard during the vice commandant change of watch ceremony at Coast Guard Headquarters in Washington, D.C., May 24, 2018.  Coast Guard photo by Petty Officer 1st Class Patrick Kelley.

WASHINGTON – Adm. Charles D. Michel was relieved as vice commandant of the U.S. Coast Guard by Adm. Charles W. Ray during a military change-of-command ceremony held Thursday at U.S. Coast Guard Headquarters.

Michel, who also retired from the Coast Guard after 33 years of service to the nation as part of the ceremony, received the Homeland Security Distinguished Service Medal from the 25th Commandant of the Coast Guard Adm. Paul F. Zukunft.

“The Coast Guard has given me everything I wanted and more: a world-class education, a profession dedicated to providing salvation to those in peril at sea, patient leadership that had faith in me, and a group of friends and colleagues that have lived our core values of honor, respect, and devotion to duty,” said Michel. “Thank you, Admiral Zukunft, for placing your trust and confidence in me.”

Michel became the 30th vice commandant in August 2015. Then in May 2016, he became the first Coast Guard four-star vice commandant and first four-star judge advocate in the armed services. Michel’s leadership and vision were instrumental in building advocacy for the modernization and acquisition program, and he championed the growth and advancement within the Coast Guard cyber program. Additionally, Michel worked diligently with Congress and the administration to achieve funding for delivery of the national security cutter program of record, the acquisition of new fast response cutters, funding for the offshore patrol cutter, and necessary funding to commence acquisition of the nation’s first new polar icebreaker in more than 50 years.

Adm. Ray recently served as the deputy commandant of operations where he led the development of Coast Guard operational strategy, policy, guidance and resources to address Coast Guard and national priorities.

“To the men and women of the Coast Guard, you are the world’s greatest Coast Guard, and I am truly humbled and honored to serve as your 31st vice commandant,” said Ray. “I will dedicate myself to work for you and alongside you to ensure that we are ready to answer the call when our nation needs us.”

A change-of-command is a time-honored ceremony that signifies the absolute transfer of responsibility, authority and accountability from one person to another.

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