Change of Command Scheduled on Monday for Sector Juneau

JUNEAU, Alaska – Coast Guard Sector Juneau will hold a Change of Command Ceremony at 10am on Monday, June 8th at Centennial Hall. Captain Melissa Bert will relieve Captain Michael Inman as Sector Juneau Commander in a formal ceremony. Rear Admiral Gene Brooks, Commander, Seventeenth Coast Guard District will preside over the ceremony. Captain Inman will remain in Juneau, serving as the Seventeenth Coast Guard District Chief of Response.

As Commander of Sector Juneau, Captain Bert will be responsible for overseeing a diverse array of Coast Guard missions in Southeast Alaska, including: Search and Rescue, Marine Safety, Aids to Navigation & Waterways Management, Living Marine Resources Law Enforcement; Marine Environmental Protection; Port, Waterways, and Coastal Security; Illegal Drug Interdiction; Undocumented Migrant Interdiction; Defense Readiness and Other Law Enforcement. She will lead approximately 200 active duty, reserve and civilian members assigned to the Sector and its ten subordinate commands and detachments. These subordinate entities include: three 110’ Island Class patrol boats; two multi-mission, heavy weather Coast Guard Stations; two Marine Safety Detachments; one Large Inland Buoy Tender; one Aid to Navigation Team; and one Sector Field Office.

Captain Bert recently completed a fellowship in National Security at the Harvard Kennedy School. Her research focused on the development of maritime safety and security regimes in the Arctic through the adoption of international standards and regulations, as well as public-private collaboration and partnership.

Prior to the fellowship, she was assigned as the Special Assistant to the Commandant of the Coast Guard for Strategic Communications. Her duties included speechwriting, journalism and introducing new communication strategies in social media. She also taught as an Adjunct Professor at George Washington University.

Her Coast Guard career has encompassed operational and legal tours. After graduating from the Coast Guard Academy in 1987, she served as the Navigator and Operations Officer of the Cutter Papaw, servicing aids to navigation and conducting maritime law enforcement off the Southeastern coast of the United States and the Virgin Islands. She later served as the Executive Officer of the Cutter Red Birch in Baltimore, Maryland.

Following her shipboard assignments, she attended George Washington University Law School in Washington, DC, and graduated in 1994. She is a member of the Florida and District of Columbia Bars. While attending school, she also served as a White House Military Social Aide in the Bush and Clinton Administrations.

After becoming a Judge Advocate, she was assigned as the Operational Law Branch Chief in the Seventh District Legal Office in Miami, Florida. Her duties included serving as a prosecutor in military courts-martial and providing advice to Coast Guard commands on issues ranging from ethics to migrant smuggling and drug interdiction. She assisted in federal trials involving Coast Guard law enforcement, and testified as an expert witness in Maritime and International Law in federal cases. She also led efforts to form federal/state law enforcement agreements, and was awarded the Young Military Lawyer of the Year for the Coast Guard by the American Bar Association in 1997.

Between operational and legal tours, she served as the Chief of the Officer Boards Branch in the Coast Guard Personnel Command in Washington, DC, managing the Coast Guard’s Officer selection and discharge boards. There, she also completed a Command and Staff Degree in Strategic Studies from the Naval War College.

In 2000, she was assigned as the Operations Officer for the Coast Guard Marine Safety Office/Group in Los Angeles, California. The command was one of the first “sectors,” responsible for port security, marine safety, search and rescue, and law enforcement, in the ports and coastline of Southern California. Following the attacks of 9/11, she stood up inter-agency teams for safety and security, working with the ports of Los Angeles and Long Beach to minimize disruption to commercial shipping.

She returned to South Florida in 2002 as the Deputy Staff Judge Advocate for the Seventh District. She also served as the Chief of Military Justice and was a Military Judge in special courts-martial. Off duty, she taught at the Florida International University in the Criminal Justice undergraduate and graduate departments. In May 2006, she received the Judge Advocates Association Outstanding Career Armed Services Attorney Award.

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