New leader takes command of the Coast Guard Cutter Mohawk

Coast Guard Cmdr. Craig J. Wieschhorster embraces Cmdr. Adam B. Morrison after taking command of the Coast Guard Cutter Mohawk in Key West, Fla., July 2, 2015. Morrison departs the Mohawk to serve as the Coast Guard's first attache at the United States Embassy in Tokyo, Japan. (U.S. Coast Guard photo)

Coast Guard Cmdr. Craig J. Wieschhorster and Cmdr. Adam B. Morrison  July 2, 2015. (U.S. Coast Guard photo)

KEY WEST, Fla. — Coast Guard Cmdr. Craig J. Wieschhorster took command of the medium-endurance Cutter Mohawk during a ceremony Thursday at Coast Guard Sector Key West.

Coast Guard Atlantic Area chief of staff, Capt. Doug Fears presided over the change of command ceremony as Wieschhorster relieved Cmdr. Adam B. Morrison of the duties and responsibilities as 14th commanding officer of the Cutter Mohawk.

“Although I leave the Cutter Mohawk with a heavy heart,” said Morrison, “I have trust in Cmdr. Wieschhorster’s confidence and ability to execute our most challenging of missions and motivate the crew to continue to perform their best.”

Morrison was awarded a Meritorious Service Medal recognizing his service and performance of duty.

During Morrison’s successful two-year command, Cutter Mohawk’s crew achieved a number of operational successes.  Highlights of this chapter in Mohawk’s proud service included three patrols within the waters of the Seventh and Eighth Coast Guard Districts.  Two additional patrols were completed aboard Mohawk’s sister cutters while Mohawk completed the year-long Mission Effectiveness Project at the Coast Guard Yard in Baltimore, Maryland.  Collectively, all five of these patrols focused on executing the Coast Guard’s counter drug, living marine resources, and alien migration interdiction operations.

Morrison departs Mohawk to serve as the Coast Guard’s first attaché at the United States Embassy in Tokyo, Japan.

Wieschhorster arrives to Mohawk from Coast Guard Headquarters, Office of Budget and Programs where he served as the deputy budget officer for the Coast Guard, responsible for the formulation and defense of the Service’s $10 billion budget.  He has previously served as executive officer on the Cutter Confidence and as commanding officer on the Cutter Matagorda.  Additionally, Wieschhorster served as a senior duty officer in the White House Situation Room and as major cutter scheduler, patrol boat manager and counter-drug operations planner the Seventh District Office of Law Enforcement in Miami.

The change of command is a time-honored tradition that ensures the continuity of command.  It is a formal ceremony conducted before the entire crew.  The ceremony marks the transfer of total responsibility, authority, and accountability for the cutter and the accomplishment of its assigned mission.  It is conducted according to a formally prescribed ritual, to honor and maintain traditions of the service.

The third and current Mohawk is the 13th and last of the 270-foot “Famous” class cutters.  Built by the former Robert E. Derecktor Shipyards of Rhode Island, Mohawk was christened on Sept. 9, 1989.  Since the time of her commissioning in March, 1991, she has served the Coast Guard in a wide variety of missions including search and rescue, maritime law enforcement, and alien migrant interdiction operations.

Mohawk and 26 other aging medium endurance cutters are slated for replacement by a new advanced fleet of Offshore Patrol Cutters that will operate more than 50 miles from land, carrying out the Coast Guard’s maritime security and safety activities in support of national interests.  The OPC is designed to be an economical, multi-mission ship, providing pursuit boat and helicopter capabilities and interoperability with other military and federal partners.  Equipped with modern sensors, the Offshore Patrol Cutter will provide the enhanced surveillance necessary to detect threats far from U.S. shores and meet the demands of the Coast Guard’s homeland security, search and rescue, law enforcement and other vital missions.

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