Coast Guard welcomes new 5th District commander

Rear Adm. Laura Dickey, incoming 5th District commander, salutes Rear Adm. Keith Smith as she relieves him as district commander during the 5th District’s change-of-command ceremony in Portsmouth, Virginia, Sept. 25, 2020.  U.S. Coast Guard photo by Petty Officer 1st Class Stephen Lehmann.

PORTSMOUTH, Va. — Rear Adm. Laura Dickey assumed the duties and responsibilities of Coast Guard 5th District Commander from Rear Adm. Keith Smith at Coast Guard Base Portsmouth, Virginia, Friday.

As commander of the 5th District, Dickey will serve as the operational commander for all U.S. Coast Guard missions from the North Carolina/South Carolina border to New Jersey, encompassing nearly 5,600 Coast Guard active duty, reserve, and civilian personnel and spanning 1.4 million square miles of oceans, bays, and rivers. The Fifth District also includes several mid-Atlantic ports, the largest U.S. Naval base in the world, and our National Capital Region.

Prior to assuming command of the Fifth District, Dickey most recently served as the Deputy Director of Operations for United States Northern Command. The Director of Operations is the principal advisor to Commander, USNORTHCOM on all operational matters, providing strategic guidance to plan and execute missions within North America; including land, maritime, and air homeland defense operations as well as defense support of civil authorities and theater security cooperation.

Smith served as the Fifth District Commander since 2018 and oversaw Coast Guard response operations throughout the region, including response efforts for hurricanes Florence and Dorian. Smith will go on to assume the role of Deputy Commander, Coast Guard Atlantic Area, based out of Portsmouth, Virginia.

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