Coast Guard Rear Adm. Karl L. Schultz took the helm from Rear Adm. Joseph "Pepe" Castillo as commander of the 11th Coast Guard District during a change of command ceremony held at Coast Guard Island, Thursday.
Schultz most recently served as the Coast Guard's director for governmental and public affairs, dealing with Congress, national media and other government agencies. From 2008 to 2010, he was the Coast Guard's chief of congressional affairs, advising Coast Guard leadership on legislative matters. From 2006 to 2008, Schultz was Miami's sector commander, overseeing operations along 165 miles of Florida coastline.
"I can think of no more relevant or exciting operational area than the 11th District region to showcase the broad spectrum of missions and challenges the Coast Guard faces today, from ensuring the safety and security of some of our nation's most critical seaports, to thwarting the flow of illicit narcotics in the Eastern Pacific," said Schultz at Thursday's ceremony. "We will continue to keenly focus on performing our varied missions with strategic intent, technical competence and professionalism."
Castillo assumed his duties as 11th Coast Guard District Commander in July 2009, becoming the first Hispanic to command a Coast Guard district.
In fiscal year 2011, 11th Coast Guard District units responded to more than 3,600 search and rescue cases, saved 540 lives and provided assistance to nearly 8,000 others. In partnership with the U.S. Navy and other nations in Central and South America, the Coast Guard seized more than 34 tons of cocaine in maritime transit zones in the Eastern Pacific Ocean.
"The 11th District performed well by every measure, maintaining a steady course towards operational and personal excellence," Castillo said Thursday. "Most importantly, to the men and women of the 11th District — active duty, reserve, civilian, and Auxiliarist — you performed magnificently. I asked for your best effort, and you gave it. Thank you."
The 11th Coast Guard District includes California, Arizona, Nevada and Utah, and has responsibility for the coastal and international waters off the coast of Mexico, Central America and South America.