Coast Guard Cutter Aspen holds change of command ceremony

Aspen c of cSAN FRANCISCO, Calif. — Lt. Cmdr. Justin Vanden Heuvel relieved Cmdr. Thomas D’Arcy as the commanding officer of the Coast Guard Cutter Aspen during a change of command ceremony Friday.

Rear Adm. Joseph Servidio, commander of Eleventh Coast Guard District, presided over the ceremony.

Prior to reporting to Coast Guard Cutter Aspen, Vanden Heuvel served as a chief instructor for the Chief Warrant Officer Professional Development Course in New London, Connecticut.

D’Arcy’s new assignment is chief of Program Management Section for Afloat Forces at Pacific Area Command in Alameda.

“Working aboard this ship was a unique part of the Coast Guard, unless you’ve done it, it’s hard to appreciate what makes it so special” said D’Arcy. “Let me share with you a secret: It has a lot to do with the tight teamwork of shipmates and the distinct feeling of accomplishing hard, yet very tangible and meaningful work.”

During D’Arcy’s time as the commanding officer, the Aspen exceeded 5,000 underway operational hours, including an unprecedented 2,333 law enforcement hours. In 2014, as result of rapid response, launch, and night-time pursuit, Aspen intercepted and detained two suspected smugglers and seized 2,560 pounds of marijuana valued at $2.4 million.

Aspen is responsible for 73 aids in an area of responsibility stretching from the Oregon-California border down south to San Diego.

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.

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