Coast Guard Cutter Steadfast holds change of command ceremony

Vice Adm. Linda Fagan, commander Coast Guard Pacific Area, returns a salute from Cmdr. Daniel Ursino, who assumed command of the Coast Guard Cutter Steadfast during a change of command ceremony held in Portland, Ore., June 9, 2019. The Steadfast is a 210-foot Medium Endurance Cutter homeported in Astoria, Ore., and has been in service for 50 years. U.S. Coast Guard photo by Petty Officer 2nd Class Valerie Higdon.

Vice Adm. Linda Fagan, commander Coast Guard Pacific Area, returns a salute from Cmdr. Daniel Ursino, who assumed command of the Coast Guard Cutter Steadfast during a change of command ceremony held in Portland, Ore., June 9, 2019. U.S. Coast Guard photo by Petty Officer 2nd Class Valerie Higdon.

PORTLAND, Ore. — The crew of the Coast Guard Cutter Steadfast held a change-of-command ceremony Sunday along the Portland waterfront near Tom McCall Park where the cutter’s crew is participating in Portland Rose Festival events throughout the weekend.

Cmdr. Daniel Ursino relieved Cmdr. Alain Balmaceda as commanding officer of the Coast Guard Cutter Steadfast during the ceremony presided over by Vice Adm. Linda Fagan, commander, Coast Guard Pacific Area, located in Alameda, California.

Ursino is reporting to the Steadfast from Coast Guard Training Center Petaluma, California, where he served as the Facilities Engineering Department Head with responsibility for managing shore facilities and infrastructure on an 837-acre installation where roughly one-third of the Coast Guard’s enlisted workforce receives training.

Balmaceda will be reporting to the Air War College at Maxwell Air Force Base in Montgomery, Alabama.

Under Balmaceda’s command from June 2017 to June 2019, the Steadfast’s crew traveled more than 53,000 nautical miles ranging from the North Pacific and the Columbia River Bar to the coast of South America over the course of five patrols.

During those five patrols the crew conducted two search and rescue cases, which resulted in seven mariners being rescued from imminent distress. The crew also interdicted 16 vessels and 52 narcotic smugglers, preventing more than 57,200 pounds of illicit drugs valued at nearly one billion dollars from reaching U.S. shores. The Steadfast stood as the Flag Ship for the 2018 Rose Festival and is the current flagship for the 2019 Rose Festival.

Balmaceda is a permanent Cutterman with more than 11 years of combined sea service including: afloat tours aboard the Coast Guard Cutters Steadfast, Thetis, Healy, Gallatin, Escanaba and Morgenthau.

The change-of-command ceremony is a time-honored tradition which formally reaffirms to the officers and crew of the command the continuity of the authority vested in the commanding officer. This unique military ritual represents a total transfer of responsibility, authority, and accountability from one leader to the next.

The Steadfast is a 210-foot medium endurance cutter homeported in Astoria. The crew’s missions include homeland security, search and rescue, marine environmental response, recreational boating safety, port safety and security, and law enforcement including: alien migrant interdiction, pollution prevention, marine sanctuary protection, drug interdiction, and fisheries enforcement.


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