Alaska’s Coast Guard Chief of Staff changes command Thursday

JUNEAU, Alaska – The 17th Coast Guard District will hold a formal change of command ceremony Thursday, 10 a.m. at the Juneau Arts and Cultural Center where Capt. Norman L. Custard will relieve Capt. Michael A. Neussl as the 17th District Chief of Staff.

Capt. Neussl will also be retiring from the Coast Guard and remaining in Juneau. A native of Geyserville, Calif., Neussl graduated from the United States Coast Guard Academy in May 1980 with a Bachelor of Science Degree in Electrical Engineering with Honors.

His first assignment in the Coast Guard was as a deck watch officer aboard the Cutter Resolute homeported in Astoria, Ore., followed by Naval flight training in Pensacola, Fla. He then completed aviation assignments at Air Station Astoria, Ore., and Air Station Sitka, Alaska., flying the HH-3F helicopter prior to attending graduate school at Purdue University in West Lafayette, Ind.

Capt. Neussl’s military decorations include four Meritorious Service Medals, three Coast Guard Commendation Medals, the Coast Guard Achievement Medal, and a Commandant’s Letter of Commendation.

Neussl was selected as the 1996, Coast Guard Engineer of the Year for his work on the HH-60J helicopter while assigned to the Aircraft Repair and Supply Center. NASA also named him as a Space Shuttle Mission Specialist finalist during the 1998 astronaut selection process.

Capt. Custard was previously assigned as Atlantic Area’s Chief of Prevention in Porstmouth, Va. Custard was assigned to the 17th District as Chief of Response between 2005 and 2007.

Capt. Custard is a 1980 graduate of Colorado State University in Fort Collins, Colorado where he received a Bachelor of Science degree in Wildlife Biology with a minor in Criminology. He earned a Master of Strategic Studies from the U.S. Army War College in 2003.

Throughout his career, Capt. Custard has been awarded several service medals and unit commendations, including the Legion of Merit, six Meritorious Service Medals, the Coast Guard Commendation Medal, the Navy Commendation Medal, and the Coast Guard Achievement Medal.

Capt. Custard is married to Patricia Turner Custard. She is a children’s book author and publisher.

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