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Press Release | April 22, 2024

Coast Guard Sector New York holds change of command ceremony

NEW YORK — Capt. Zeita Merchant transferred command of Coast Guard Sector New York to Capt. Jonathan Andrechik Monday, during a change-of-command ceremony at the Richard Rodgers Theatre in Manhattan.

Rear Adm. John Mauger, the First Coast Guard District commander, presided over the ceremony.

Capt. Andrechik reported to Sector New York and has served as the deputy commander since June of 2023. 

“I could not be more honored, humbled and excited to serve as the commander of Sector New York and Captain of the Port,” said Andrechik. “Command is both a great privilege and a great responsibility, I am honored to continue Sector New York’s long legacy of mission excellence and to walk in the footsteps of the distinguished officers who served here before me.” 

Prior to serving as the Sector New York deputy commander, Andrechik served as the Chief of the Resource Management at Coast Guard Atlantic Area in Portsmouth, Virginia. 

Following the change of command ceremony, Capt. Merchant was presented with a Legion of Merit for her 3-year tour and frocked to the rank of rear admiral lower half where she will assume the role of commander, Coast Guard Personnel Service Center in Washington, D.C. 

Merchant assumed command of Sector New York May 7, 2021 and served as the sector commander and Captain of the Port of New York and New Jersey, one of the nation’s busiest ports. During her tenure as sector commander, Merchant’s numerous achievements include unparalleled crisis leadership in response to multiple highly complex maritime incidents which garnered national and international attention, her visionary leadership in cybersecurity which achieved the highest utilization rate of Coast Guard Cyber Protection Teams in the Coast Guard, and advancing the Service’s diversity and inclusion goals yielding a 30% increase in recruiting leads and accessions during historic workforce shortages.

“Words cannot express how much I appreciate having the chance to serve as your sector commander,” said Merchant. “I am confident our team of active duty, reservists, civilians and Coast Guard Auxiliary members can successfully face any challenge thrown their way.”

Coast Guard Sector New York is the largest operational field command on the East Coast. The area of responsibility stretches from Sandy Hook, N.J. up the Hudson River to Albany, N.Y. 

The change-of-command ceremony is a time-honored military tradition that marks the transfer of total responsibility and authority from one individual to another. It is conducted to demonstrate a continuation of trust and authority within the chain of command.