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Atkins takes charge as 14th Coast Guard District chief

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COAST GUARD PHOTO BY PETTY OFFICER 3RD CLASS MELISSA MCKENZIE
Crew members from the 14th Coast Guard District stood at attention Thursday as Rear Adm. Cari B. Thomas and Rear Adm. Vincent B. Atkins inspected the crew during a change of command ceremony at Sand Island.

Rear Adm. Vincent Atkins on Thursday took command of the Honolulu-based 14th Coast Guard District, succeeding Rear Adm. Cari Thomas.

"It has been a privilege serving as the commander of the 14th Coast Guard District, and I am so proud of the Coast Guard men and women throughout Hawaii and the Central and Western Pacific," Thomas said in a statement. "I will always cherish my time in Hawaii, and I will take the spirit of aloha with me as I continue my Coast Guard career."

Vice Adm. Charles W. Ray, the Coast Guard’s Pacific area commander, based in Alameda, Calif., presided over the ceremony.

Thomas has served as the 14th District commander since May 2013 and is leaving to assume duties as assistant commandant for human resources at Coast Guard headquarters in Washington, D.C. She was cited for outstanding service at the 14th District and awarded the Coast Guard Legion of Merit medal.

During her tenure here, Thomas oversaw the execution of more than 1,000 rescues, resulting in 340 lives saved. She also directed the responses to 235 environmental pollution cases and coordinated the Coast Guard’s response during three hurricanes.

Atkins most recently served at Coast Guard headquarters as the deputy for operations policy and capabilities, overseeing the integration of all operations, capability, strategy and resource policy. His previous assignment was as U.S. Southern Command’s director of operations, directing military operations in the Caribbean, and Central and South America.

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