Eighth Coast Guard District to hold change of command ceremony

New Orleans – The Eighth Coast Guard District will hold a formal change of command ceremony on Friday at 10 a.m.  At that time, Rear Adm. Mary E. Landry is scheduled to relieve Rear Adm. Joel R.Whitehead as Commander, Eighth Coast Guard District.

In his three years as the Eighth Coast Guard District Commander, Adm. Whitehead orchestrated 8,140 search and rescue cases which resulted in 2,200 lives saved as well as carried out more than 23,000 compliance, law enforcement and security boardings. Responded to 50 percent of all oil and hazardous material spills nationwide, which included the largest oil spill of this decade at the Lake Charles Citgo refinery, and directed the cleanup of each.

Rear Admiral Joel R. Whitehead

Rear Admiral Joel R. Whitehead

Also during his tenure as Eighth District Commander, Adm. Whitehead implemented the Maritime Security Act throughout 26 states, developed protocols and policies in a partnership with the Mexican government, signed the MEXUS treaty Gulf Annex, which is an agreement between the U.S. and Mexico to respond to oil or hazmat that threatens their borders, and utilized more than 220 vessels and crews to clean up the Mississippi River oil spill in 2008 in New Orleans. Adm. Whitehead also responded to hurricanes Gustav and Ike and flooding in North Dakota, Minnesota, Iowa, Missouri and Illinois.

After 34 years of service, Whitehead will start his retirement by ending his Coast Guard career as Commander of the Eighth Coast Guard District. His career began when he graduated from the U.S. Coast Guard Academy in New London, Conn. in 1975. His tours include serving as a junior officer aboard Coast Guard Cutter Morgenthau, program reviewer in the officer of the chief of staff in Washington, D.C., commanding officer of marine safety office in Boston, chief of strategic planning in Washington, D. C., and director of Governmental and Public Affairs. Adm.Whitehead also served as director of the U. S. Coast Guard Academy Alumni Association and chairman of the Alumni Executive Council at the John F. Kennedy School of Government at Harvard University.

Rear Admiral Mary E. Landry

Rear Admiral Mary E. Landry

Rear Admiral Landry comes to the Eighth District having served for the last two years as the Coast Guard’s Director of Governmental and Public Affairs stationed at Coast Guard Headquarters in Washington, D.C.  Rear Admiral Landry has served the majority of her career in the Marine Safety field.  She has held various assignments on the East Coast, West Coast, Gulf Coast and Hawaii.  She was the Executive Officer of Marine Safety Office (MSO) Boston during the 9/11 attacks and during her tour as Commanding Officer of MSO Providence, Rhode Island, she oversaw the federal response to the Buzzard’s Bay oil spill in Southeastern Massachusetts.

Rear Admiral Landry completed Officer Candidate School in 1980.  A native of Buffalo, New York, Rear Admiral Landry graduated from the State University of New York at Buffalo in 1978 and worked for the city’s mayor prior to joining the Coast Guard.  She also has a Master of Arts in Management from Webster University and a Master of Marine Affairs from the University of Rhode Island.  Rear Admiral Landry is a National Security Fellow, earning this distinction at Harvard University’s John F. Kennedy School of Government in 2000.

Her military decorations include the Legion of Merit (three awards), Meritorious Service Medal, Coast Guard Commendation Medal (three awards), 9-11 Medal, and Achievement Medal.

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