Coast Guard Special Missions Training Center holds change of command

Coast Guard Headquarters NewsWASHINGTON — Capt. Adrian L. West relieved Capt. Jonathan N. Riffe as commanding officer of U.S. Coast Guard Special Missions Training Center (SMTC) during a ceremony Friday at U.S. Marine Corps Base Camp Lejeune in Jacksonville, North Carolina.

West, a native of Farrell, Pennsylvania, most recently served as the chief of response at Coast Guard Sector Houston-Galveston.

“To the crew of SMTC – it all starts with you,” said West at the ceremony. “Together, we will engage each other, our partners, our students and the community around us. We will embrace new ideas and different points of view to provide the best service we can to the public because they deserve it. You will be empowered to act with the training you’ve been provided knowing that you are supported,” he said.

Riffe, who served as commanding officer of SMTC since 2013, will continue his Coast Guard career in Alameda, California, as the future operations branch chief of the Coast Guard’s vast Pacific Area.

Rear Adm. David G. Throop, commander of Force Readiness Command, presided over the ceremony.

SMTC was commissioned July 29, 2003, and the unit serves as the tactical center of excellence for the deployable specialized forces (DSF). Specifically, SMTC provides ports, waterways, and coastal security tactical training, delivers expeditionary training to port security units, and manages three nationwide detachments.

Responsible for delivering 14 resident courses while supporting 1,400 field members during ready for operations assessments at 22 DSF units and two maritime force protection units, SMTC continuously proves to be a critical component in supporting and developing the Coast Guard’s tactical community.

The change of command ceremony is a time-honored tradition of formally restating the continuity of command to the officers and crew. It is a formal ritual conducted before the assembled company of the command, which serves as a visible symbol of the transfer of total responsibility, authority and accountability from one individual to another.

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