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Press Release | June 13, 2024

US Coast Guard Cutter Calhoun holds change-of-command ceremony

NORTH CHARLESTON, S.C. — U.S. Coast Guard Cutter Calhoun (WMSL 759) held a change-of-command ceremony, Tuesday, in North Charleson. Capt. Matthew Hammond relieved Capt. Timothy Sommella as commanding officer of Calhoun during the ceremony, which was presided over by Vice Adm. Nathan Moore, commander, Coast Guard Atlantic Area.

Hammond previously served as chief, Mission Support Division at the Coast Guard Academy in New London, Connecticut.  

“I am honored to serve with the Calhoun crew and continue to meet the strategic needs of our Coast Guard and Nation with a highly capable Legend-class cutter,” said Hammond. “I look forward very much to furthering the growth of Charleston as a Coast Guard community and conducting our missions at sea with this fine crew.” 

Sommella served as the commanding officer of Calhoun from May 2022 to June 2024. Sommella’s next assignment will be chief of Congressional Affairs at Coast Guard Headquarters. 

“As a Cutterman, serving at sea is one of the most rewarding experiences that cannot be done without exceptional crews and military families,” said Sommella. “It was a true privilege to bring online and to life the first cutter named after the first Master Chief Petty Officer of the Coast Guard, Charles L. Calhoun, and to honor his personal motto to 'Never Give Up!'” 

The change-of-command ceremony marks a transfer of total responsibility and authority from one individual to another. It is a time-honored tradition to formally demonstrate the continuity of authority within a command, conducted before the assembled crew and esteemed guests.

Calhoun is a Legend-class national security cutter with a crew of 125. With its robust command, control, communication, computers, intelligence, surveillance, and reconnaissance equipment, the national security cutter is the most technologically advanced class of ships in the Coast Guard’s fleet. Calhoun is a worldwide deployable asset that supports the Department of Homeland Security, Department of Defense, and national objectives to include drug interdiction, migrant interdiction, national defense, search and rescue, fisheries enforcement, and national intelligence collection. 

For information on how to join the U.S. Coast Guard, visit to learn about active duty and reserve as well as officer and enlisted opportunities. Information on how to apply to the U.S. Coast Guard Academy can be found here.