Coast Guard Sector San Juan receives new commander

SAN JUAN, Puerto Rico – Coast Guard Sector San Juan received a new commander Friday, who will be responsible for Coast Guard forces and operations in Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands.

Rear Adm. Scott A. Buschman, Coast Guard’s Seventh District commander, presided over the change of command ceremony, where Capt. Eric P. King assumed command responsibilities for Sector San Juan.

“My family and I are very excited to be coming to Puerto Rico, where we look forward to meeting the people, learning the culture and being and important part of the community,” said King, Sector San Juan commander. “It’s a true honor and privilege to have been given the opportunity to command this fine unit. The Coast Guard men and women in Sector San Juan, along with our federal, local and regional law enforcement, environmental, emergency and industry partners work tirelessly to save lives and secure our nation’s Caribbean maritime border in Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands.”

During the ceremony, Capt. Robert W. Warren, the unit’s outgoing commander, was recognized with the Legion of Merit for his leadership and accomplishments during his three-year command. Warren is now headed to Boston, where he will assume responsibilities as the new Chief of Response for the Coast Guard’s 1st District.

“It has been the highlight of my career and a distinct privilege to have served alongside the remarkable men and women of Coast Guard Sector San Juan as we have joined proudly with our federal and local partners to collectively serve and safeguard the citizens of Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands.” said Warren. “My family and I will greatly miss Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands, their beauty, their people and the deep friendships we have made.”

Over Capt. Warren’s three-year-tour, Coast Guard crews interdicted 1,200 illegal migrants, seized approximately $1 billion dollars worth of illegal drugs, saved approximately 900 lives and $54.7 million dollars in property. In August 2016, Captain Warren led the largest mass rescue operation in United States waters in 60 years when the 612-foot, foreign-flagged ferry, Caribbean Fantasy, suffered an out-of-control fire outside San Juan Harbor.

The change of command ceremony is a time-honored event preserved by the rich heritage of naval tradition. It is a custom that is formal, and following military protocol, is designed to strengthen the respect for the continuity of command that is vital to any military organization. The culmination of the ceremony is reached when both officers read their orders, face one another, salute, and transfer responsibility of command. This provides the entire command with the knowledge and the opportunity to witness the peaceful transition of command.

Sector San Juan, headquartered in La Puntilla, Old San Juan, is a 1.3 million square mile area of responsibility that encompasses the eastern Caribbean. The Sector comprises six shore units including Air Station Borinquen, Aguadilla, one of three major air stations in the Coast Guard’s Seventh District, and two of the busiest ports in the nation, with more than three million visitors per year.

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