Sector San Juan Holds Change of Command Ceremony

SAN JUAN, Puerto Rico – The Coast Guard received a new commander for Sector San Juan during a change of command ceremony Wednesday morning held at the Coast Guard base in La Puntilla, Old San Juan.

During the change of command ceremony, Capt. Eduardo Pino, previously the Chief of Response Enforcement Branch for the Coast Guard’s Seventh District in Miami, assumed the responsibilities from Capt. James E. Tunstall as commander of the Coast Guard’s Sector San Juan.

“This has been the highlight of my career,” said Capt. James E. Tunstall, outgoing Sector San Juan Commander. “It has been an absolute honor to serve the Commonwealth of Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands.”

“It is a true honor to have the opportunity to lead the men and women of Sector San Juan,” said Capt. Eduardo Pino, Sector San Juan Commander. “I also look forward to earning the trust and friendship of our federal, Commonwealth of Puerto Rico and U.S. Virgin Islands partners. Together we can continue to strengthen our relationships to better secure our maritime border against illegal voyages, drug trafficking and potential terrorist threats. It is of equal importance to continue working to save lives and protect our environment through Search and Rescue, Pollution Response and Disaster Preparedness Response Operations.”

Tunstall, Sector San Juan commander since July 2005, will be assigned as the new Coast Guard Liaison Officer for the U.S. Special Operations Command at MacDill Air Force Base, Tampa, Fla.

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 that the officer directed by proper authority is taking 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.

Over Capt. Tunstall’s three-year-tour as the Sector San Juan Commander, Coast Guard crews interdicted 6,896 migrants, approximately 12,000 pounds of cocaine and 44,440 pounds of cocaine, and saved over 296 lives and $3.3 million dollars in property. The Caribbean Border Interagency was also created, a venue for Department of Homeland Security agencies and the U.S. Attorney’s Office to share intelligence and leverage limited resources. The Biometrics-at-Sea Program was also successfully tested and implemented, resulting in the prosecution of over 120 migrants who attempted to enter the U.S. Illegally and a 60 percent drop in illegal migrant flow since the program was implemented in Nov. 2006.

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