Fourteenth Coast Guard District holds change of command ceremony

Rear Adm. Vincent B. Atkins (left) assumes command from Rear Adm. Cari B. Thomas (right) as commander of the Fourteenth Coast Guard District during a change of command ceremony at Base Honolulu, May 28, 2015. Vice Adm. Charles W. Ray, commander, Pacific Area, presided over the ceremony. The change of command ceremony is a time-honored tradition transferring total responsibility, authority and accountability from one individual to another. (U.S. Coast Guard photo by Petty Officer 3rd Class Melissa E. McKenzie)

Rear Adm. Vincent B. Atkins (left) assumes command from Rear Adm. Cari B. Thomas (right) as commander of the Fourteenth Coast Guard District during a change of command ceremony at Base Honolulu, May 28, 2015. (U.S. Coast Guard photo by Petty Officer 3rd Class Melissa E. McKenzie)

HONOLULU – Rear Adm. Vincent B. Atkins relieved Rear Adm. Cari B. Thomas and assumed command of the 14th Coast Guard District during a change of command ceremony at Base Honolulu, Thursday.

Vice Adm. Charles W. Ray, the Coast Guard’s Pacific Area commander, presided over the ceremony.

“It is absolutely wonderful to be back in the 14th Coast Guard District, and I am thoroughly impressed by the professionalism of the Coast Guard members stationed here,” said Atkins. “I am truly honored and humbled to be given this incredible opportunity to serve as the District Commander, and I would like to thank Rear Adm. Thomas for her exemplary leadership and commitment to service.”

The change of command ceremony is a time-honored tradition and formal ritual conducted before the assembled company of a command to confirm to the men and women of the unit that the authority of command is maintained. The ceremony is a transfer of total responsibility, authority and accountability from one individual to another.

Prior to reporting to the 14th District, Atkins served at Coast Guard Headquarters as the Deputy for Operations Policy and Capabilities overseeing the integration of all operations, capability, strategy and resource policy. His immediate previous assignment was as U.S. Southern Command’s Director of Operations, directing all military operations in the Caribbean, Central and South America.

Rear Adm. Thomas has served as the 14th District Commander since May 2013 and is leaving to assume the duties as the Assistant Commandant for Human Resources at Coast Guard Headquarters.

“It has been a privilege serving as the commander of the 14th Coast Guard District, and I am so proud of the Coast Guard men and women throughout Hawaii and the Central and Western Pacific,” said Thomas. “I will always cherish my time in Hawaii, and I will take the spirit of aloha with me as I continue my Coast Guard career.”

Thomas was cited for outstanding meritorious service as Commander, 14th Coast Guard District and awarded the Coast Guard Legion of Merit Medal. During her tenure at the Fourteenth District Commander, Thomas oversaw the execution of over 1,000 rescues cases resulting in 340 lives saved, the responses to 235 environmental pollution cases and coordinated the Coast Guard’s responce during three hurricanes.

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