New commander takes helm at Coast Guard Sector San Juan

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A new commander took over Coast Guard Sector San Juan - which oversees Coast Guard personnel for the U.S. Virgin Islands and Puerto Rico - during a change-of-command ceremony Tuesday at the Coast Guard base in Old San Juan, Puerto Rico.

Rear Adm. Jake Korn, Commander of the Coast Guard's Seventh District, presided over the ceremony in which Capt. Robert Warren assumed command of Sector San Juan, replacing Capt. Drew Pearson, who retired from the Coast Guard after completing 30 years of service.

Prior to assuming his new command, Warren completed a tour at the Joint Chiefs of Staff's Strategic Plans and Policy Directorate in the Pentagon, where he supported and represented the chairman on Maritime Homeland Defense strategy and policy issues.

"I am truly honored to have been selected to lead and serve alongside U.S. Coast Guard forces in Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands," Warren said in a statement issued Tuesday. "I look forward to working with the men and women of Sector San Juan and with our partners from local and federal law enforcement, emergency response agencies, and maritime industry to further strengthen maritime safety and security in the region. I am excited to be back in the Caribbean with my family, where we look forward to sharing once more in the rich culture of Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands."

Pearson, who was awarded the Legion of Merit for his three-year tour as commander of Sector San Juan, is moving to North Carolina, where he will assume responsibilities as the new Director for Emergency Management for Dare County.

During Pearson's command, Coast Guard Sector San Juan interacted with governments of 18 island nations during 200 search-and-rescue cases, saved 170 lives, assisted 3,600 mariners and salvaged $41 million dollars in property, according to the Coast Guard.

Also during Pearson's tenure, Operation Caribbean Guard, which countered the increase in drug ventures into Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands, resulted in the interdiction and seizure of approximately 25,714 kilograms of drug contraband, 972 weapons and $15.2 million.

Sector San Juan, headquartered in La Puntilla, Old San Juan, covers a 1.3 million-square-mile region that encompasses 18 countries in the eastern Caribbean. Sector San Juan comprises six shore units and two of the busiest ports in the nation, with more than 3 million visitors per year.

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