Commanding Officer of Air Station Sacramento Temporarily Relieved

ALAMEDA, Calif. — Rear Adm. Joseph R. Castillo, Commander, Eleventh Coast Guard District, has temporarily relieved Capt. James O’Connor from his duties as commanding officer of Coast Guard Air Station Sacramento, citing a loss of confidence in the officer’s ability to command. Pending the results of an investigation, a final determination on O’Connor’s command status will be made by the commandant of the Coast Guard in Washington, D.C.

“Command of a Coast Guard unit is one of the most demanding assignments in the service and it is essential that I have complete trust and confidence in anyone holding such a position,” Castillo said. “This action does not reflect on the operational performance of the air station’s crew, which has been outstanding.”

Air Station Sacramento operates four long-range HC-130 Hercules fixed-wing aircraft used for search and rescue as well as law enforcement, pollution response, and fisheries patrols.

In October, the air station suffered the loss of seven crewmen when one of its aircraft and a Marine Corps helicopter collided off the coast of Southern California. An investigation into the collision is ongoing, but Castillo noted that the relief is not connected to the crash. “The tragic loss of the Air Station Sacramento C-130 crew is still fresh in our minds; however, my decision regarding the relief of the commanding officer is based on issues unrelated to that incident,” Castillo said.

O’Connor has been temporarily reassigned to the Eleventh District staff in Alameda.

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