Coast Guard Atlantic Area holds change of command ceremony

Vice Adm. Kevin Lunday stands with Vice Adm. Steven Poulin as he takes command of the U.S. Coast Guard Atlantic Area, under the watchful eye of Adm. Karl Schultz, the commandant of the U.S. Coast Guard, at a change of command ceremony on May 24, 2022, at U.S. Coast Guard Training Center Yorktown, Virginia. The change of command is a time-honored tradition formally recognizing the transfer of command from one leader to another. (U.S. Coast Guard photo by Petty Officer 1st Class Travis Magee)

Vice Adm. Kevin Lunday stands with Vice Adm. Steven Poulin under the watchful eye of Adm. Karl Schultz, at a change of command ceremony on May 24, 2022, at U.S. Coast Guard Training Center Yorktown, Virginia. (U.S. Coast Guard photo by Petty Officer 1st Class Travis Magee)

PORTSMOUTH, Va.— Vice Adm. Kevin Lunday relieved Vice Adm. Steven Poulin as the Coast Guard Atlantic Area commander during a change of command ceremony on Tuesday at Coast Guard Training Center Yorktown.

The Commandant of the U.S. Coast Guard, Adm. Karl Schultz, presided over the ceremony.

Poulin will report for duty as the Coast Guard’s vice commandant. He served as the U.S. Coast Guard Atlantic Area commander, director of Department of Homeland Security Joint Task Force East, and Defense Force East commander from May 2020 to May 2022.

While leading complex security operations from the Rocky Mountains eastward to the Arabian Gulf, he led the efforts to address substantial national and international challenges. His historical deployment of assets to the Arctic, South Atlantic, Africa, Mediterranean Sea, Black Sea, and the Middle East directly supported the Tri-Service Maritime Strategy and greatly enhanced cooperation with the joint force, allies, and partners.

Pre-positioning of Coast Guard personnel and equipment during historic hurricane seasons saved lives, mitigated environmental disasters, and led to the expeditious restoration of the maritime transportation system, critical to all aspects of the U.S. economy.

Additionally, he supported national efforts to provide critical humanitarian assistance, including the delivery of 500,000 vaccinations, in the aftermath of the tragic assassination of the Haitian president and the devastating earthquake.

As Director of JTF-East, he advanced joint operations and cross-component collaboration while spearheading modernization efforts, promoting interoperability among interagency partners, and championing innovative approaches to information-sharing. His efforts forged a sustainable joint architecture and galvanized Departmental energy toward an Eastern Caribbean Regional Campaign Plan.

Vice Adm. Lunday is reporting from U.S. Coast Guard Headquarters in Washington D.C., where he served as the Deputy for Materiel Readiness. He provided oversight and guidance for Coast Guard engineering and logistics program management, acquisitions and contracting security, and command, control, communications, and information technology (C4IT).  The mission support enterprise is responsible for staffing, training, equipping, and sustaining the Coast Guard to ensure force readiness and delivery of operational outcomes.

Lunday previously served as the U.S. Coast Guard Fourteenth District commander, responsible for operations throughout Oceania, including Hawai’i, Guam, the Commonwealth of Northern Mariana Islands, American Samoa, and activities in Singapore and Japan. He also served as the commander of U.S. Coast Guard Cyber Command, the assistant commandant for C4IT, the director of exercises and training (J7) at U.S. Cyber Command, and various operational, intelligence, and legal assignments in the Coast Guard and joint community, including command afloat and ashore.

Lunday is a distinguished graduate of the National War College with a Master of Science in national security strategy and a graduate of the Naval War College. He holds a Juris Doctor from George Washington University Law School and a Bachelor of Science in marine engineering from the U.S. Coast Guard Academy.

The U.S. Coast Guard’s Atlantic Area command oversees all domestic Service operations east of the Rocky Mountains, including the Arctic, Atlantic, Gulf of Mexico, Caribbean, and out-of-hemisphere operations in Europe, Africa, and Southwest Asia. They oversee five regional district commands and run day-to-day operations. Atlantic Area is responsible for coordinating and deploying cutters, aircraft, pollution response equipment, and thousands of personnel between districts when significant events occur. After major disasters, the area team assists districts by ensuring resources, equipment, and personnel surge to impacted areas for rescue and recovery efforts while also providing for other Coast Guard operations throughout the region.

A change of command is a military tradition representing a formal transfer of authority and responsibility for a unit from one commanding or flag officer to another. The passing of colors, standards, or ensigns from an outgoing commander to an incoming one ensures that the unit and its members are never without official leadership, a continuation of trust.

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