Coast Guard holds change of command ceremony in San Diego

Rear Adm. Joseph Gautier, 11th Coast Guard District commander, acknowledges Capt. Joseph Buzzella’s relief of command to Capt. Timothy Barelli as Coast Guard Sector San Diego’s commander during a change of command ceremony, June 26, 2019. The change of command ceremony is a time-honored military tradition that transfers total responsibility, authority, and accountability from one individual to another while confirming to the men and women of the unit the continuity of command. U.S. Coast Guard photo by Petty Officer 2nd Class Jordan Akiyama.

Rear Adm. Joseph Gautier, 11th Coast Guard District commander, acknowledges Capt. Joseph Buzzella’s relief of command to Capt. Timothy Barelli as Coast Guard Sector San Diego’s commander during a change of command ceremony, June 26, 2019.  U.S. Coast Guard photo by Petty Officer 2nd Class Jordan Akiyama.

SAN DIEGO — The Coast Guard welcomed a new Sector San Diego commander during a change of command ceremony in San Diego, Wednesday.

Rear Adm. Peter Gautier, the 11th Coast Guard District commander, presided over the time-honored military tradition that represents a formal transfer of authority and responsibility for a unit from one commanding or flag officer to another.

“The men and women of Sector San Diego operate at the junction of communities that make this San Diego region great,” said Rear Adm. Peter Gautier, the 11th Coast Guard District commander. “We have the number one regional coordination mechanism with all of our DHS agencies here in San Diego.”

Capt. Timothy J. Barelli, the new Sector San Diego commander, is arriving from Coast Guard headquarters in Washington, D.C., where he served as the deputy director of emerging policy. He was responsible for developing service-wide strategy and advising the commandant and senior leaders on major issues. Of particular note, he crafted the Coast Guard’s Strategic Plan for 2018-2022 and the Maritime Commerce Strategic Outlook – the Service’s 10-year strategy to promote $4.6 trillion in annual maritime commerce and protect and modernize the nation’s critical maritime infrastructure.

Barelli’s previous assignments include executive officer at Coast Guard Air Station San Francisco, aeronautical engineer officer at Coast Guard Air Station Houston, Coast Guard Air Station Savannah, Georgia, and the Coast Guard Cutter Resolute homeported in St. Petersburg, Florida.

Barelli attended the National War College for study on national security strategy, foreign policy and international relations with added focus on Southeast Asia, to include authoring and defending a U.S. strategy for Indonesia. Barelli is a 1996 graduate of the Coast Guard Academy and a graduate of the Navy Flight School where he earned his naval aviator “wings of gold.” He holds masters’ degrees from The National War College, Colorado School of Mines, and the McDonough School of Business at Georgetown University. In 2018, Barelli was selected for the DHS Executive Leaders Program at the Naval Postgraduate School’s Center for Homeland Defense and Security, a program to develop policies to defeat terrorism.

“One could not have asked for a more supportive and welcoming family,” said Barelli. “I pledge to earn and keep your trust.”

Since 2016, Capt. Joseph Buzzella has served as sector commander and Captain of the Port of San Diego. In this role, he served as the senior Coast Guard officer in the Southwest region of the United States responsible for leading operations to ensure maritime safety, security, law enforcement and environmental protection covering from the U.S. – Mexico Maritime Border northward to Dana Point, and east to the Colorado River and inland navigable lakes of Arizona and southern areas of Utah and Nevada.

Buzzella will be assuming the duties of chief of staff for the 11th Coast Guard District in Alameda.

Coast Guard Sector San Diego began as a Coast Guard Air Patrol detachment on May 4, 1934, for the purpose of preventing smuggling across the U.S. – Mexico border. The primary mission soon expanded to include saving life and property as patrolling aircraft were increasingly being diverted for search and rescue missions offshore. Sector San Diego was established in July 2004, combining three separate commands, Activities San Diego, Marine Safety Office San Diego and Air Station San Diego, into a single command performing 10 of the 11 statutory Coast Guard missions.


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