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Press Release | June 28, 2024

Coast Guard Air Station Sitka holds change of command ceremony

SITKA, Alaska — Coast Guard Air Station Sitka personnel held a change-of-command ceremony at Air Station Sitka, Friday. 

During the ceremony, Capt. Vincent J. Jansen transferred command of Coast Guard Air Station Sitka to Cmdr. Rand Semke. 

As the commanding officer, Semke will be responsible for an area of operation encompassing approximately 180,000 square miles of water and land stretching across Southeast Alaska from the Dixon Entrance to Icy Bay, and the Alaskan-Canadian border to the central Gulf of Alaska. Air Station Sitka’s operating area is one of the most demanding flight environments in which Coast Guard aircraft operate. 

Semke previously served as operations officer of Air Station Sitka and as Military Assistant to the Deputy Secretary of Homeland Security at DHS Headquarters in Washington, D.C.

Semke received his commission from the Coast Guard Academy and then served aboard Coast Guard Cutter Reliance in Kittery, ME. Following Naval Flight Training, Semke flew the HH-60J and MH-60T helicopters at Air Stations Clearwater and Kodiak and at the Aviation Training Center in Mobile, AL. He holds a master’s degree from the USAF Command and Staff College. 

Jansen, who originally took command of Air Station Sitka in July 2022, will be transferring to the Coast Guard 17th District in Juneau, Alaska to serve as chief of incident management. 

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