Coast Guard receives new district commander for California operations

Vice Admiral Linda Fagan, the Coast Guard Pacific Area commander, presents a Legion of Merit award to Rear Admiral Todd Sokalzuk during his change-of-command ceremony at Coast Guard Island in Alameda, California, June 28, 2018. Sokalzuk received the award for his tour as the Coast Guard 11th District commander since July 2016, where members under his leadership seized 190 metric tons of cocaine valued at $5.4 billion in addition to interdicting 46,000 pounds of marijuana, 300 pounds of methamphetamine from 840 narco-smugglers. (U.S. Coast Guard photo by Chief Petty Officer Brandyn Hill)

Vice Admiral Linda Fagan, the Coast Guard Pacific Area commander, presents a Legion of Merit award to Rear Admiral Todd Sokalzuk during his change-of-command ceremony at Coast Guard Island in Alameda, California, June 28, 2018.  (U.S. Coast Guard photo by Chief Petty Officer Brandyn Hill)

ALAMEDA, Calif. — Rear Adm. Peter W. Gautier replaced Rear Adm. Todd A. Sokalzuk as the commander of the Coast Guard’s 11th District, Thursday, during a change-of-command ceremony on Coast Guard Island in Alameda.

Vice Adm. Linda L. Fagan, the Coast Guard Pacific Area commander, presided over the event.

Sokalzuk was awarded the Legion of Merit during the ceremony for his tour as the district commander since July 2016. Sokalzuk is scheduled to transfer to Portsmouth, Virginia, where he will serve as the Coast Guard Atlantic Area’s deputy commander.

Gautier most recently served as the Coast Guard’s director of governmental and public affairs, where he was responsible for external engagement with Congress, the media, the public and intergovernmental entities.

“I am honored to return to California and take command of the 11th District,” said Gautier. “It is a pleasure to serve the public and communities in this very dynamic district, and I am confident that the men and women of the Coast Guard will continue to keep our ports, waterways and coastlines safe and secure.”

The change-of-command ceremony is a time-honored tradition aboard ships and shore commands. It represents a total transfer of responsibility, authority and accountability from one individual to another. The event ensures the continuity of leadership and operations within the district’s area of responsibility.

The 11th District commander is responsible for Coast Guard roles and missions across 3.3 million square miles including the states of California, Utah, Nevada and Arizona and the inland waters of lakes Powell, Tahoe, Meade, Havasu and Mojave. Responsibilities extend from the Mexico border across the eastern Pacific Ocean, where the Coast Guard counters transnational criminal threats, conducts counternarcotic patrols and coordinates search and rescue.

The 11th District employs approximately 1,760 active-duty personnel, 520 reservists, 130 civilians and is comprised of 42 units including sectors, air stations, buoy tenders, small-boat stations, patrol boats, aids-to-navigation teams, marine safety detachments and vessel traffic services.

Between 2016 and 2018, 11th District units conducted 3,360 search and rescue cases, assisted 5,325 lives and saved 629 lives.

Coast Guard 11th District Commander Introduction

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