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Press Release | June 13, 2024

Sector San Juan receives new commander for Coast Guard forces in Puerto Rico, U.S. Virgin Islands

SAN JUAN, Puerto Rico — Coast Guard Sector San Juan received a new commander following the unit’s change of command ceremony, Thursday, who will be responsible for Coast Guard forces in Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands and overseeing the unit’s 1.3 million square nautical miles area of responsibility in the Eastern Caribbean.

Rear Adm. Douglas M. Schofield, commander of the Seventh Coast Guard District, presided over the change of command ceremony in which Capt. Luis J. Rodríguez relieved Capt. José E. Díaz. as the unit’s commander.

During the ceremony, Rear Adm. Schofield presented Capt. Díaz with the Coast Guard Legion of Merit (Operational Device Authorized). Under Capt. Díaz’s leadership, Coast Guard crews helped save over 1,227 lives saved and assisted 7,440 others, interdicted over 5,500 undocumented migrants and 1,000 suspected smugglers, and seized approximately 25,000 kilograms in cocaine with an estimated wholesale value of more than $500 million.

“It’s been my distinct honor leading the Coast Guard men, women and civilian workforce at Sector San Juan for the past two years, who support and carryout all Coast Guard missions in Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands at the tip of the spear of Coast Guard operations in the Eastern Caribbean” said Capt. José E. Díaz, Sector San Juan outgoing commander. “I will deeply cherish the experiences and strong relationships between our federal, local and regional partners, that allowed us to get the job done. I rest easy knowing that there is no better team to safeguard our nations southernmost maritime border.”

Capt. Diaz will be retiring from Coast Guard active-duty service, after 27 years of honorable and faithful service to the nation.

“Wow, there is no place like home, and I’m honored to have been given the opportunity to return to my native island of Puerto Rico with the privilege of leading the Coast Guard men and women who work daily to safeguard the homeland,” said Capt. Luis J. Rodríguez, incoming Sector San Juan commander.  “I look forward to continue working with our federal and local partners and building news relationships to best serve and protect the people and environment of Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands from existing or unforeseen threats.”

Capt. Luis J. Rodríguez assumes command of Sector San Juan following his previous assignment as Deputy Director of International Affairs and Foreign Policy Advisor, where he oversaw all Coast Guard international initiatives and engagements to advance national strategic and service objectives.  He also served as the National Command and Response Center Director. Capt. Rodríguez is the eighth commander of Sector San Juan and the second puertorrican native selected for the position.

The change of command ceremony is a time-honored event preserved by the rich heritage of naval tradition. This formal military protocol provides the entire command with the knowledge and opportunity to witness the peaceful transition of command that is vital to any military organization. The culmination of the ceremony takes place when both officers read their orders, face one another, salute, and transfer responsibility of command.

Sector San Juan encompasses a 1.3 million square nautical miles area of responsibility throughout the Eastern Caribbean. It is comprised of more than 500 Active Duty and Reserve personnel in 13 subordinate units, including five fast response cutters, a Marine Safety Unit, two Resident Inspection Offices, an Aids to Navigation Team, and a Tactical Pursuit Station, and a Boat Forces Unit. Sector San Juan operations are supported by Coast Guard Base San Juan and Coast Guard Air Station Borinquen, one of three major air stations in the Coast Guard’s Seventh District. Sector San Juan includes two of the busiest ports in the nation, which receive over three million visitors and 11,000 vessel arrivals annually, including almost 1,600 cruise ships.

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