U.S. Coast Guard District 17 — which encompasses nearly 4 million square miles, more than 44,000 miles of shoreline, and is responsible for all Coast Guard operations happening in Alaska, the North Pacific and the Arctic — has a new leader following a change-of-command Friday in Juneau.
Rear Adm. Megan M. Dean, who previously served as the Coast Guard director of governmental and public affairs and the chief of staff of Coast Guard District 13, was sworn into her new position during the event at the Alaska Army National Guard Aviation Operating Facility in Juneau. The ceremony welcomed more than 100 guests including Coast Guard officials, family members and Alaska’s Congressional Delegation.
The Friday morning ceremony marked Dean taking over the role from Rear Adm. Nathan A. Moore, who assumed command of the district in April of 2021 and will now transfer to Portsmouth, Virginia, to become the new deputy commander for the Coast Guard Atlantic area.
Dean said taking on the new role is no easy task, but is eager to take on the new challenges of Alaska. She said the weather and the vast distance of coverage are what she anticipates are the greatest challenges of the district.
Dean, coming from a background in Southeast Florida, said there were a lot of other local agencies that saturated the area, while in Alaska there is more of a reliance on the Coast Guard, which she said is a “big difference.” The district’s administrative office is located in Juneau and its operations include nearly 2,000 people.
“We have quite a good footprint up here, but the area is just so vast,” she said.
Dean also cited other challenges like increased cruise ship traffic opening the door for more medevac rescue situations, concerns about potential oil spills in the future, and the increasingly tense relationship between the U.S., China and Russia.
Despite the change and new role, Dean said she’s most excited about working with the people of Alaska.
“I don’t just mean the Coast Guard people — I mean the community as well,” she said. “I’ve already sensed it being here in Juneau and I’m looking forward…to getting to know the communities and the people in Alaska.”
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