The crew of the Coast Guard Cutter Steadfast (WHEC 623) held a modified change-of-command ceremony Friday aboard the cutter while in port.
Cmdr. Craig Allen Jr. relieved Capt. Dan Ursino as Steadfast’s commanding officer during the ceremony, presided over by Rear Adm. Peter Gautier, deputy commander of Coast Guard Pacific Area in Alameda, California.
Allen reported to the Steadfast from the Coast Guard Cutter Waesche (WMSL 751), a 418-foot Legend-class national security cutter homeported in Alameda, where he served as the cutter’s executive officer for two years.
Under Ursino’s leadership, Steadfast’s crew intercepted seven drug-smuggling boats while deployed off the southern coasts of Mexico and Central America, preventing 24,514 pounds of illegal narcotics from reaching U.S. shores.
In July 2019, Steadfast set a record for the most cocaine seized by a Reliance class medium-endurance cutter during a single deployment, intercepting over 23,000 pounds within 30 days.
The cutter also represented the U.S. Coast Guard during the Portland Rose Festival and San Francisco’s Fleet Week.
“To the crew of Steadfast, my time with you has gone by far too quickly, but the experience has been rich and fulfilling,” said Ursino during the ceremony. “Time and again, I’ve been inspired and humbled by your ability to overcome adversity and find strength together to prove that the name painted on the stern is more than just a word.”
Ursino was frocked to the rank of captain during the ceremony and will take command of the Coast Guard’s Civil Engineering Unit in Oakland, California, next month.
The change-of-command ceremony is a time-honored tradition that formally reaffirms, to the officers and crew, the continuity of authority vested in the commanding officer.
This unique, military ritual represents a total transfer of responsibility, authority and accountability from one leader to another.
The Steadfast is a 210-foot Reliance-class cutter commissioned in 1968, and was homeported in Astoria in 1994. The crew’s assigned missions include homeland security, search and rescue, law enforcement, marine sanctuary protection and military readiness.