SANTA RITA, Guam — Cmdr. Christopher Jasnoch took command of USCGC Hickory (WLB 212) from Cmdr. Linden Dahlkemper in a change of command ceremony held at the Top o’the Mar in Guam on Wednesday, Sep. 13, 2023.
Capt. Blake Novak, chief of staff of the U.S. Coast Guard 14th District, presided over the ceremony.
A native of Erie, Pennsylvania, Dahlkemper earned her commission from the U.S. Coast Guard Academy in 2008. She assumed command of the USCGC Sequoia (WLB 215) in July 2022 and promptly sailed it halfway around the world to the U.S. Coast Guard Yard in Baltimore for its major maintenance availability. The cutter is being swapped out with the USCGC Hickory, which will return to Guam in early 2024. Dahlkemper’s next posting is at the Office of Cutter Forces.
She previously served as commanding officer of the USCGC James Rankin (WLM 555), with earlier afloat tours on USCGC Aspen (WLB 208) and USCGC Walnut (WLB 205). Before Guam, she served as the maritime programs manager in the Office of Defense Cooperation at the U.S. Embassy in Hanoi, Vietnam; a 2016 White House Fellow on the Presidential Transition Team at the General Services Administration; and an instructor in American government and public policy at the U.S. Coast Guard Academy.
A native of Chicago, Jasnoch earned his commission from the U.S. Coast Guard Academy in 2005. He reports to Guam from a short assignment as the Physical Aids to Navigation division chief in the Office of Navigation Systems at U.S. Coast Guard Headquarters.
Previous tours afloat include USCGC Resolute (WMEC 620), USCGC Hollyhock (WLB 214), commanding officer of USCGC William Tate (WLM 560), USCGC Thetis (WMEC 910), and commanding officer of USCGCs Walnut (WLB 205) and Juniper (WLB 201) in Hawaii. Previous tours ashore include staff officer at the U.S. Coast Guard 7th District Waterways Management Office in Miami and supervisor of Afloat Training Organization Northwest in Washington.
Under Dahlkemper’s command, the Sequoia crew operated in a 1.9 million sq. mile area of responsibility. During this time, the Sequoia, now Hickory, crew accomplished the following:
* Undertook a 10,644 nautical mile 60-day transit from Guam to Baltimore for the on-time delivery of Sequoia for their $24 million major maintenance availability, the longest transit ever to the U.S. Coast Guard Yard.
* Overcame seven engineering casualties, combated two cases of flooding, and weathered Hurricane Rosyln, a Category 4 storm.
* Initiated a cold hit on a go-fast refueling vessel, disrupting transnational drug smuggling operations.
* While managing the complex transition from Sequoia to Hickory as part of MMA, facilitated the crew in supporting 230 temporary duty assignments, contributing to 3,700 person-days to backfill units experiencing member shortages.
* Despite not having a cutter, conducted all necessary aids to navigation operations, including vital repairs following Typhoon Mawar, a Category 4 storm, in Guam and the Northern Mariana Islands -- accomplished with a 50 percent crew turnover, including three gapped command cadre positions.
Major maintenance availability is a scheduled, comprehensive overhaul for U.S. Coast Guard's 225-foot seagoing buoy tenders. The process extends the vessel's lifespan and enhances its capabilities by upgrading systems like propulsion, communication, and navigation. Conducted in dry-dock, MMAs address both routine and specialized maintenance needs, from hull repair to machinery replacement.
Carefully planned years in advance, MMAs are essential for ensuring the cutters remain operationally ready. During these periods, alternate resources are deployed to cover the cutter’s duties, minimizing mission disruptions leading to the change out of ships in various locations. Despite their complexity, MMAs are crucial for maintaining fleet readiness and fulfilling the Coast Guard's diverse missions.
The USCGC Hickory, a 225-foot seagoing buoy tender based in Apra Harbor, Guam, primarily focuses on maintaining aids to navigation in Guam, the Northern Marianas, and Kwajalein Atoll in the Republic of the Marshall Islands. Additionally, the crew conducts law enforcement, search and rescue, and humanitarian missions. The ship’s moniker will now be the “Bull of the Pacific” with a nod to both its previous life in Alaska as the “Bull of the North” and the beloved carabao of Guam.
By ensuring safe and secure maritime routes, the Hickory's crew contributes significantly to regional stability in the Pacific Rim—a critical corridor for global commerce. Their work aligns with the goals of Pacific partners, reinforcing the U.S. commitment to security and prosperity in the region.
As the 12th vessel in the 16-strong Juniper-class fleet, the Hickory continues a long-standing U.S. Coast Guard tradition of servicing aids to navigation. The cutter operates under the U.S. Coast Guard 14th District in Honolulu and works closely with U.S. Coast Guard Forces Micronesia/Sector Guam. Together, they forge enduring partnerships fostering a more secure and sustainable future for Oceania and beyond.