Capt. Darwin R. Jensen, left, takes command of Coast Guard Sector Juneau from Capt. Stephen J. White, right, in a change of command ceremony at the station on July 7, 2021. (Michael S. Lockett / Juneau Empire)

Capt. Darwin R. Jensen, left, takes command of Coast Guard Sector Juneau from Capt. Stephen J. White, right, in a change of command ceremony at the station on July 7, 2021. (Michael S. Lockett / Juneau Empire)

Sector Juneau holds change of command ceremony

The new commander is no stranger to Juneau, however.

Coast Guard Capt. Stephen R. White formally transferred command authority of Sector Juneau to Capt. Darwin R. Jensen in a change of command ceremony at the station on Wednesday.

The change of command ceremony is a formal ritual traditional to the naval services for many centuries.

“[Capt. Jensen,] welcome back to Alaska. I’d wrestle you for the job, but I don’t think I’d win,” White said in his remarks during the ceremony. “You guys are inheriting a good person at the helm.”

Capt. Stephen J. White, Sector Juneau’s outgoing commander, thanks members of Sector Juneau during a change of command ceremony at the station on July 7, 2021. (Michael S. Lockett / Juneau Empire)

Capt. Stephen J. White, Sector Juneau’s outgoing commander, thanks members of Sector Juneau during a change of command ceremony at the station on July 7, 2021. (Michael S. Lockett / Juneau Empire)

White assumed command of Sector Juneau in 2018. During his time in charge, said District 17 commander Rear Adm. Nathan A. Moore, more than 500 lives have been saved, alongside more than 550 search and rescue missions and thousands of inspections for safety and enforcement.

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“He’s responsible for 250 personnel in 10 field commands. When you look at Southeast Alaska, it’s basically the size of the peninsula of Florida. It’s that big,” Moore said. “To command in that environment takes incredible fortitude, foresight and can-do attitude, which [Capt. White] sure does.”

Coast Guardsmen parade the colors during a change of command ceremony at Station Juneau on July 7, 2021. (Michael S. Lockett / Juneau Empire)

Coast Guardsmen parade the colors during a change of command ceremony at Station Juneau on July 7, 2021. (Michael S. Lockett / Juneau Empire)

The whole command area encompasses 2,000 islands and 10,000 miles of shoreline, according to the Coast Guard’s website.

“It’s been my honor to serve the people of Southeast Alaska,” White said. “This is a very special place and if you’re in the Coast Guard, there’s no place better.”

White also thanked the enlisted men and women of his command, the chief petty officers of the sector.

Capt. Darwin R. Jensen, Sector Juneau’s incoming commander, speaks during the change of command ceremony at the station on July 7, 2021. (Michael S. Lockett / Juneau Empire)

Capt. Darwin R. Jensen, Sector Juneau’s incoming commander, speaks during the change of command ceremony at the station on July 7, 2021. (Michael S. Lockett / Juneau Empire)

“What really inspired me to come to work everyday is the people who do the missions,” White said, speaking of the enlisted members of the command. “This has been a tough year.”

White also paid respects to partner agencies, volunteer search and rescue organizations, the Canadians, and his command team, calling those partnerships paramount to achieving the Coast Guard’s mission.

Coast Guard cutters Liberty and Sea Lion along with buoy tender Kukui were present for Sector Juneau’s change of command ceremony on July 7, 2021. (Michael S. Lockett / Juneau Empire)

Coast Guard cutters Liberty and Sea Lion along with buoy tender Kukui were present for Sector Juneau’s change of command ceremony on July 7, 2021. (Michael S. Lockett / Juneau Empire)

“We can’t do it alone,” White said. “There’s way too much country and way too much risk for us to do it alone.”

Jensen, who has also spent years in District 17 before, said he was excited to head up the sector.

Rear Adm. Nathan A. Moore, Coast Guard District 17 commander, speaks during a change of command ceremony for Sector Juneau at the station on July 7, 2021. (Michael S. Lockett / Juneau Empire)

Rear Adm. Nathan A. Moore, Coast Guard District 17 commander, speaks during a change of command ceremony for Sector Juneau at the station on July 7, 2021. (Michael S. Lockett / Juneau Empire)

“I’m really looking forward to working with you,” Jensen said. “Together, we will continue to save lives. We will continue to facilitate industry. We will continue to keep waterways safe. We will continue to protect the environment.”

White retired from the Coast Guard in a ceremony following the change of command after 31 years of service across the country.

• Contact reporter Michael S. Lockett at (757) 621-1197 or mlockett@juneauempire.com.

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